New Jersey court strikes down state’s current beach access rules

 A beach in Belmar, NJ. (Alan Tu/WHYY, file)

A beach in Belmar, NJ. (Alan Tu/WHYY, file)

A state appellate court has tossed out New Jersey’s rules regarding public access to its beaches and waterways.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the court found the state Environmental Protection Department overreached in issuing rules governing how and where the public is allowed to get onto beaches and waterfronts around the state.

The challenge was brought by two environmental groups who said the 2012 rules wrongly turned parts of the shoreline over to private property owners and corporations.

But other groups say that by throwing out the access rules, the court has endangered public access to all beaches and waterways by leaving no rules in place.

The DEP says it’s considering its options, and worries that future beach access has now been threatened by the ruling.

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