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Protect the Raritan River! Don’t give taxpayer money to polluters!

This petition had 4,076 supporters

The Raritan River is a river in recovery from years of dumping and chemical abuse.  It is also the longest river solely in New Jersey and home to hundreds of species including bald eagles, osprey, seals, turtles and striped bass. Located in the heart of a densely populated region, the Raritan Basin provides water to approximately 1.2 million people in central New Jersey, including our drinking water, irrigation water for farms, nurseries and golf courses. Unfortunately, the Raritan River Estuary is still disproportionately impacted by many of New Jersey’s more 25,000 known contaminated sites – and shockingly – Rutgers University is one of these many polluters. 

After over 20 years of effective advocacy, education and outreach by the grassroots non-profit Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) and our partners, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recognized the need for a “regional approach” to identify and clean up the Raritan River Estuary.

In 2012, the USEPA proactively undertook a first-of-its-kind project in the nation, and allocated much deserved, yet scarce resources to start the Raritan River Initiative.  Unfortunately, their selection process, failed to identify appropriate conflicts of interest, and awarded the grant to Rutgers University, a known polluter and responsible party for illegally releasing toxic biocide discharges into the Raritan River not once, but twice. 

Rutgers University tried to cover up two 3500 gallon toxic releases of hazardous biocide from their laboratories into the Raritan River. The first occurred in October of 2011 and the second in March 2012, and were identical discharges from the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOSHI) building in Busch Campus at Rutgers University.   

If not for a Good Samaritan and employee at Rutgers Golf course, Rutgers University may have completely gotten away with these toxic releases. The employee witnessed the destruction of the surrounding environment and Raritan River caused by the spill in October of 2011 but was told by his senior management that they would take care of it. 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) was only reluctantly notified when Rutgers was confronted by the USEPA.  Rutgers was issued a Notice of Violation for the illegal discharge of a pollutant or contaminant into the waters of the State.  Since the NJDEP considers polluters as “customers,” there are no longer fines or penalties issued to polluters anymore!

As if discharging chemicals into the Raritan River wasn’t bad enough, Rutgers gross incompetency and failure to conduct even the most basic environmental research was made clear after EWA and several other nonprofits organizations and foundations hired Rutgers for two Raritan River sediment and water quality studies in 2011-2012. 

Rutgers signed an agreement to conduct this much needed research and a scope of work was agreed to by all parties involved.  Rutgers was about to waste more than $50,000 on sampling with no quality controls or scientific procedures. 

EWA’s team fortunately discovered the mistake in time, but instead of correcting the sloppy and shoddy quality controls and scientific methods, Rutgers withdrew from the funded sediment studies with little explanation and refused to return or provide an accounting for the bulk of the money. Their research was not scientifically defendable and the funding they were provided has yet to be fully accounted for.

Our hard earned tax money should not be trusted to Rutgers.  Please tell the USEPA there is no way to trust their research team with environmental projects as important as the one EPA is undertaking.

It is clear that Rutgers only cares about an additional source of money and does not care about the environment or the Raritan River. By allowing biocide discharges into the Raritan River and covering it up, Rutgers is a polluter no better than any other polluter who has decimated our Nations waterways and lands.

New Jersey has the largest number of Superfunds Sites in the United States as well as the highest cancer rate.  These two statistics are not accidental.  We need your help to send a message that we will not reward those who poison our environment and then cover it up.

Rutgers has proven that they are not worthy to receive any funding for projects related to the environment especially the Raritan River. We need to make sure the Raritan River receives the proper attention and protection it deserves. Rutgers is not the right entity for this project and we need to make sure they do not get their hands on the funding.

Tell the USEPA not to reward Rutgers for polluting the Raritan River. Rutgers should not be allowed to conduct any more shoddy studies with a $100,000 in taxpayer money.  

Please join us and take action! Demand that the USEPA not award this grant to Rutgers University. If Rutgers wants to identify sources of contamination in the Raritan River they need only to look in the mirror!

Thank you for taking immediate action to protect the Raritan River and American tax dollars!

Today: Edison Wetlands Association is counting on you

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