N.J.’s new science advisory board meets

    The first meeting was closed to the public, but WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens got a debriefing on what issues the board will address.

    A new board that will advise New Jersey on everything from ground water contamination to air quality convened for the first time today. It was closed to the public, but WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens got a debriefing on what issues the board will address.

    The 16-member advisory board, appointed by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, is made of university professors, environmental engineers, and industry scientists.

    At the meeting DEP handed members a list of 17 major environmental issues, just to get them started. One is the nutrient-overloading problem in Barnegat Bay — which is the subject of a controversial bill in New Jersey’s senate that would restrict lawn fertilizer. Another is how to protect ground water when cleaning up contaminated soil sites.

    DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese says the issues will be divided among sub-committees.

    Ragonese: They’ll work on a lot of these issues, bring them to the full board, and then the full board will consider them and make recommendations to the DEP, to Commissioner Martin, to either support proposals that we might have on board or to debunk them.

    The next meeting is in October.

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