Greenwood Lake Commission Co-Chairman Paul Zarrillo is once again asking the public to contact New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and urge him to sign a bill that would fund the lake at $500,000 a year.
The bill, S-2167, passed the full legislature in November, and is now awaiting Murphy’s signature to become law.
Zarrillo is concerned that Murphy may choose to veto the legislation because of his own recently announced $13.5 million initiative to help combat Harmful Algal Blooms throughout the state.
The blooms occur when the cyanobacteria levels go above 20,000 cells per milliliter of water, according to officials.
Toxins produced in the blooms can cause a variety of symptoms in humans and animals ranging from rashes to gastrointestinal problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
In a recent interview, Zarrillo said the plan announced by Murphy may help Greenwood Lake, but is more project oriented and that funding for the individual projects could require matching funds from local municipalities.
The difference, he said, is that the current bill on Murphy’s desk earmarks $500,000 each year specifically for Greenwood Lake, and allow the commission to fund a variety of needed projects.
Zarrillo is asking the public to call the governor’s office at (609) 292-6000, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, to urge Murphy to get the bill signed.
A spokesman for Murphy’s office said Wednesday that it would not comment on the pending legislation.
According to officials, Murphy has 45 days from the bill’s final passage to either sign or veto the bill.
It is not clear what may happen if Murphy does not act within that timeframe.
Zarrillo and other officials said the bill could become law if Murphy does nothing, but we have not been able to independently confirm if that would be the case.
Harmful Algal Blooms caused the state Department of Environmental Protection to issue a no contact advisory on the lake in July, leading to devastating economic consequences for businesses depending on the lake’s tourist trade.
Greenwood Lake is the state’s second largest body of freshwater, and its 9-miles spans both New York and New Jersey.
The HAB did not lead to any restrictions on the New York side of the lake during the summer.
According to the Greenwood Lake Commission. Once the annual funding is approved in New Jersey, it will mount a similar campaign for funding in New York.