Revival of New Jersey beach erosion panel sought

 Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, left, and Cape May County Emergency ManagementCoordinator Martin Pagliughi inspect beach erosion from thenor'easter in Avalon Monday morning. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, left, and Cape May County Emergency ManagementCoordinator Martin Pagliughi inspect beach erosion from thenor'easter in Avalon Monday morning. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to reactivate the state’s Beach Erosion Commission.

Damage to dunes from the recent nor’easter shows why the panel, which hasn’t met  in 14 years, should get back to work, pushing for better shore protection measures, said Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi.

“Any time you have an event like we had, and it causes beach erosion, you lose your beaches or you have problems with you beaches, it makes it more vulnerable to the next event,” he said. “We still have probably another month or a month and a half that we consider the hurricane and nor’easter season. So it puts us at vulnerability to further weather events.”

Fiocch, R-Cumberland, is also urging legislative approval of a bill he sponsored to double the state’s $25 million annual contribution to the New Jersey Shore Protection Fund. That money comes from the collection of realty transfer fees.

“There is a need to make sure we protect our beaches, which is not only public safety but for our tourism industry,” he said. “Tourism creates $38 billion worth of taxable revenues for the state of New Jersey, so we need to raise those beach-replenishment funds.”

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