State Senator Bob Smith
In the guarded national atmosphere
post-September 11th, homeland security is an issue at the forefront of nearly
every public policy decision. While a
most of the media attention has been devoted to the federal Department of
Homeland Security, a great deal is happening right here in
The state government has taken a number of
steps in the past year and a half to strengthen our domestic preparedness After the anthrax scares of last year,
which hit particularly close to home in
Established the Medical Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Response Expert Panel (MEDPREP) to enhance the State’s ability to respond to a bioterrorist attack. $40 million in federal and state funding has been allocated to implement this panel’s recommendation.
Through a partnership with Becton Dickinson
Measures are also underway to protect our critical infrastructure. One area that is of particular interest to me is ensuring the security of water supply interconnections. These are the pipes and transfer stations that bring water from aquifers and reservoirs to towns throughout the state. Not only are these interconnections deteriorating because of disrepair, but many studies have shown them to be particularly vulnerable to attack through infrastructure sabotage and contamination. Legislation that I am currently working on, the “Clean Water Drought Mitigation and Water Resource Security Trust”, will place a small user fee (three cents per one thousand gallons of water, or $2.40 per year for the average household) on water usage that will establish a trust fund dedicated to properly protecting these systems.
Furthermore, my colleagues in the State
Assembly, Assemblymen Egan and Chivukula, and I are constantly working to
secure state funding to assist 17th Legislative District municipalities better
equip their own first-responders.
In short, while the threats to homeland
security are at an all-time high, officials at all
levels of government are working hard to minimize threats and prepare for any
attack. You can be confident that
Bob Smith is a State Senator representing Piscataway, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Franklin Township, North Brunswick and Milltown. He is a member of the Senate Environment and Judiciary Committees and has served as a member of the legislature since 1986.