New Jersey on verge of adding more hazmat inspectors

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/31/2012

A bill that would add to the list of police officers in New Jersey authorized to inspect hazardous materials hauls has advanced from the statehouse to the governor.

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 voted 52-23 to approve a bill to extend the authority to include Delaware River Port Authority police officers. The bill – S1816 – now moves to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. Senate lawmakers already approved it on a 29-10 vote.

The state’s DRPA counterparts in Pennsylvania already have the authority to inspect hazmat cargo and containers 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.

“DRPA officers are responsible for ensuring the safety of roadways and bridges that are part of a critical transportation network, and in a post-9/11 world they must be given the full capability to do this effectively,” Norcross said in a statement.

The agency 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 previously stated.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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