Engaged & Informed
Legislative and business issues are routinely monitored by the County Chamber for the benefit of the members. The Chamber is recognized as the leader in this area for the County.
CURRENT ISSUES BEING MONITORED AND/OR ACTED UPON:
Offshore Oil Drilling & Seismic Testing: The Chamber is a founding member of BAPAC, an east coast group of Businesses Aligned for the Protection of the Atlantic Coast and successfully opposed a proposal by the U.S. Dept. of Interior to allow drilling in the Atlantic from Virginia to Georgia which eventually led to an Executive Order by President Obama to protect our coast. Any seismic testing or drilling along the eastern seaboard is dangerous to our quality and life and local economy. As stated in the Chamber’s position, “due to current flow and natural movement of ocean waters, an oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean would not occur in isolation and would cause catastrophic damage to a fragile and priceless ecosystem. Cape May County is located at the most southern tip of New Jersey whose economy is driven by beach tourism, ecotourism and aquaculture, each of which would be devastated in the event of seismic testing or a drilling disaster.
Threats to Recreational Fishing: The 2017 size and catch limits for summer flounder fishing pose a serious threat to the recreational fishing segment of our tourism industry. The Chamber is a strong advocate for the continuation of the 2016 regulations until more reliable science can be put in place to justify these new limits. More importantly, the Chamber’s position is that Cape May County should have the same fishing regulations issued from the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council as the state of Delaware because we fish in the same Delaware Bay. The current regulations place Cape May County at a very serious disadvantage and we will lose recreational fishing because of them.
Dredging our Waterways: Dredging projects are necessary in order to protect our coastal economy. The Chamber urges state officials to develop technology for the expanded reuse of dredge materials and is in support of new legislation that would simplify the permitting process for dredging projects in existing marinas.
Hourly Paid Leave: The Chamber opposes efforts by the New Jersey Legislature to require businesses to provide paid leave for their employees whose compensation is based on an hourly wage. This legislative effort is especially harmful to businesses who operate in our seasonal tourism economy.
South Jersey Gas Pipeline to BL England: The Chamber was one of the leading business organizations in support of the South Jersey Gas pipeline to convert the BL England facility from coal to natural gas and to improve energy reliability in the region. The approval of this project now provides energy reliability in the event of a similar weather disaster like Superstorm Sandy where our North Jersey coastal communities experienced saltwater infiltration in gas lines. Without this new pipeline servicing Cape May County, an event like that could leave our businesses and residents without natural gas for many, many months devastating our tourism driven economy and quality of life.
Beach Replenishment Funding: Supports an increase in the annual dedicated $25 million Shore Protection Fund. The Fund finances beach replenishment and flood mitigation projects along New Jersey’s ocean and bay coastlines. For two decades, the Fund has served as a catalyst for the state to acquire federal matching dollars of 65% to New Jersey’s 35% share for important coastal projects, making New Jersey second only to Florida in federal dollars for beach protection. Without this Fund as an incentive, N.J. would not benefit from this level of federal support, impacting our safety, quality of life, and the overall economy. The Chamber urges our elected officials to work collectively to resolve this issue.
$15 Minimum Wage: Proposed legislation to increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2021 would be especially harmful to small businesses and seasonal businesses. The Chamber has testified at Senate and Assembly committee hearings opposing this bill and has recommended amendments specifically for first time jobs, seasonal positions, and a trailing wage.