Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Encap: Knee Deep In the Big Muddy

Since 1999, when a North Carolina firm called EnCap was awarded development rights to 785 polluted acres in the Meadowlands, state officials have given the firm more than $350 million in public benefits and promised hundreds of millions more in tax breaks.

The State is reportedly looking for another developer to finish the project, but more than one mayor in the area is pressuring the Meadowlands Commission for a seat at the table. NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Titell has his own ideas. In a blistering OpEd in The Record, he raises a stink on the growing scandal:
The controversial EnCap proposal includes two golf courses, 2,000 units of housing and half a million square feet of commercial and office space. This is one of the largest projects being proposed in New Jersey, and it has major environmental implications. The original purpose of this project was to clean up and stabilize landfills in the Meadowlands that are leeching into the Hackensack River, but it has become instead a boondoggle, a pork barrel, and a symbol of everything that's wrong with pay to play in New Jersey.

What may have started out as a good idea has turned into an environmental and financial disaster.

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