A bill that is one step closer to passage at the New Jersey statehouse would add to the list of police officers in the state authorized to inspect hazardous materials hauls.
New Jersey law now limits authority to inspect affected loads to the State Police, officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and certain officials at the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.
The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee voted to advance a bill to extend the authority to include Delaware River Port Authority police officers. The bill – S1816 – awaits further consideration on the Assembly floor. If approved there, the bill would move back to the Senate for approval of changes before it could head to the governor.
The state’s DRPA counterparts in Pennsylvania already have the authority sought in the New Jersey bill.
Sen. Donald Norcross, D-Camden, said his bill would provide heightened security on roadways in the state and increased safety.
“We must ensure that hazardous materials cargo entering our state is transported in the most secure manner possible,” Norcross said in a statement. “Providing DRPA officers with inspection and enforcement authority will allow these individuals to make sure proper procedures are followed to assess penalties if a violation takes place.”
DRPA owns and operates four bridges connecting southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Camden/Gloucester, noted that DRPA officers on both sides of the state line have been trained to perform inspections and are familiar with federal regulations on hazmat loads.
“There is no such thing as being too vigilant in this day and age,” Moriarty stated.
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