Bill Would Suspend Professional Licenses of Doctors, Waste Haulers Caught Illegally Dumping
(TRENTON) — Assemblymen Nelson T. Albano and Matthew W. Milam (both D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) issued a multimedia package Thursday in which they discuss their latest efforts to combat illegal ocean dumping off New Jersey’s coastline.
The measure (A-861) would suspend for three years the license of any health care professional, medical waste facility, generator or transporter found in violation of New Jersey’s medical waste anti-dumping law. If a medical professional or waste handler continues to operate while under suspension, the appropriate state authority would permanently revoke their license. Otherwise, at the end of the three year suspension period they would be allowed to apply for reinstatement of their license.
Albano and Milam introduced the measure after several South Jersey beaches were forced to close before the 2008 Labor Day weekend, after illegally dumped medical waste washed ashore. As many as 225 syringes and other medical waste were found in Avalon — leading borough officials to close beaches four times. Syringes also washed ashore in Berkeley, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Brigantine and Upper Township.
Thomas McFarland, a Philadelphia dentist who owns a Jersey Shore summer home, was charged with intentionally dumping the waste that caused the Avalon closings. He received probation and was ordered to pay restitution.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Assemblymen Albano and Milam discussing their legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from Assemblymen Albano and Milam is appended below:
Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam (D-Cumberland), Assembly Tourism and the Arts Committee Chairman:
“In the summer of 2008, unfortunately, the beaches of Avalon started having medical waste wash up on it. In tracing back those needles, it was discovered that a dentist, who has a summer home in Avalon, used the New Jersey oceans to dump the waste.”
Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano (D-Cumberland), Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chairman:
“And it not only affected just one beach, it affected multiple beaches. Millions of dollars were lost.”
“This bill, as a result of that… not only did we do legislation to increase fines on this, but we also wanted to make sure that these professionals are in jeopardy of losing their license as well to practice.”
“You know, a lot of people who are doing this may think that they can afford the fine, but when a doctor loses his right to practice — when he is suspended — I think this is even sending a stronger message.”
“We want to make sure we send a message, we’re not going to stand for anyone to pollute our beaches.”
“It’s bad enough when somebody may mistakenly do this. But when it is intentionally done, when you are trying to cut corners and cut your costs to increase your profits at the cost of the safety of the people, to me it was just unimaginable how somebody could even attempt to do something like this.”