TRENTON, N.J., NOV. 18 -- Gov. Thomas H. Kean unveiled an ambitious plan this week to combat ocean pollution, enlisting cooperation of state, municipal and federal governments at a total cost of $200 million over the next five years.
Under the proposal, the state would provide millions of dollars in matching grants to New Jersey shore communities, which were plagued this summer by garbage washing ashore, to clean up beach litter and improve sewage-treatment plants.
Additional state marine police officers would be hired, a new state commission to manage coastal areas would be created and Congress would be asked to ban ocean dumping of sludge.
More than half the money would be spent for stopping the runoff of rainwater that collects grime and other pollutants as it drains into bays and the ocean.
Kean called the plan "the most comprehensive program that's ever been proposed in this country." His aides said $50 million of the money needed for the program would be in the next budget proposal.
The governor said no tax increase would be required for the program, which he said is as important as education and welfare-revision proposals in the budget.
But local municipalities and sewage authorities may have to raise sewage rates to collect the money for the state matching grants.
"For the first time, the governor has acknowledged what Save Our Shore has been saying all along: that people are getting sick from swimming in the ocean and that it threatens the health of tourism," said Dennis G. Sternberg, a cofounder of the coalition of shore residents working to fight ocean pollution.