New Jersey beach access bill advances; hard decisions remain

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TRENTON -

(AP) - New Jersey lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure guaranteeing the public's right to access beaches and riverfronts, but hard decisions remain to be made.

A state Senate committee on Monday released a bill that writes the Public Trust Doctrine into law and directs the state Department of Environmental Protection to apply it to coastal land use and funding decisions.

The doctrine is a legal concept dating to the Roman Emperor Justinian stating that oceans, bays and rivers are held in a trust for the public, which has the right to swim in them, or sit or walk along their shores.

It exempts critical infrastructure like chemical or nuclear plants and doesn't specify how far apart public access points must be.

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