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State Officials Approve New Beach Access Rules

The rules side with special interests by blocking access to beaches and waterfronts, Sierra Club says.

State environmental officials have approved a revision of the state's public access rules for beaches, bays and tidal waterways, the Associated Press reported.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says the new rules maintain existing public access, while granting more power to local communities to write their own access plans, subject to state approval, the AP reported. The Public Access Rule was signed Wednesday, and will take effect Nov. 5.    

Jeff Tittel, head of the Sierra Club's New Jersey chapter, wrote a blog post for Patch Friday saying the rules "side with special interests by blocking people from getting proper access to beaches and waterfronts."

"When they first proposed the rule it was a major roll back of our public access.  With each new change to the rules they are cutting access even more," he wrote. "This is part of the overall chipping away at the Public Trust doctrine and the right of the people of New Jersey to access our waterways."

He also said that allowing municipalities to plan public access "will let the towns do whatever they please instead of providing the necessary access. These rules will be open for political games and subject to abuse."

For more information, see the Associated Press story here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20121004_ap_njofficialsapprovenewbeachaccessrules.html

Tittel's Patch blog can be found here: http://manasquan.patch.com/blog_posts/anti-beach-access-rules-finalized.

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