Lawmakers to discuss New Jersey beach access bill

(AP) -- Lawmakers are examining the public's right to access New Jersey's beaches and shoreline.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee will hold a public meeting in Toms River on Thursday.

A bill would put the public trust doctrine into law to ensure that ownership of waterfront property is vested in the state on behalf of the public, giving them legal access for recreation, navigation and fishing.

Exemptions would be made for homeland security for areas such as military installations and places deemed as critical habitat for threatened or endangered species.

It also requires towns with tidal shorelines, which include the Meadowlands and the Hackensack River, to make beach access a part of their land use master plan.

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