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Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey

NAACP president calls on DEP to hold additional hearings on Liberty State Park remediation

Richard Smith says single meeting will shut out communities of color

By Nikita Biryukov, October 15 2020 4:11 pm

The New Jersey NAACP called on the Department of Environmental Protection to hold additional public hearings on a remediation plan for Liberty State Park, warning that the lone announced hearing risked shutting communities of color out of the process.

“To hold only one meeting is irresponsible. Surely the DEP must recognize the disparities that communities of color face in terms of being able to access a single virtual meeting,” NJ NAACP President Richard Smith said in a letter to DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe. “I should not have to point out that such a set-up — and I use that word deliberately — favors well organized, largely white groups that have dominated the Park conversation for years”

DEP is seeking to remediate a fenced-off 234-acre portion of the state park using tens of millions of obtained through lawsuits actions against polluters.

Thursday’s meeting, to be held digitally at 6 p.m., is the only one announced by DEP. Smith wants the department to coordinate additional meetings with Jersey City Community leaders, urging that residents be allowed to attend via phone.

“Without these additional steps, the DEP will be perpetuating 40 years of broken promises and outright lies around Liberty State Park,” Smith said.

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