PRINCETON: Department of Environmental Protection deals blow to Battlefield Society on wetlands issue


The state Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that tests found no wetlands in the area where the Institute for Advanced Study intends to build faculty housing, results that the opposition group fighting the project dismissed.
In a conference call with reporters, DEP officials said the agency went to the area in December and again Friday looking for wetlands where the Princeton Battlefield Society contends they are located.
They concluded the “project is not encroaching on other otherwise disturbing any regulated wetlands or transition areas,” DEP assistant commissioner Ginger KopKash wrote Wednesday in a letter to the Society’s lawyer, Bruce I. Afran. The DEP released a copy of the letter to the media.
For its part, the Battlefield Society dismissed the findings. In a phone interview, Mr. Afran said Wednesday that the DEP waited to conduct tests until after the IAS began filling in the wetlands with soil and sand to create a plateau on which to build faculty housing.
“They’ve completely abrogated their responsibilities under the law,” he said of the DEP.
But the DEP said no debris is being dumped in wetlands.
In a statement Wednesday, the IAS said: “We are pleased that the Department of Environmental Protection reaffirmed, with its most recent visit, that the Institute has the Department’s necessary approval to proceed with site preparation and construction of its Faculty Housing project.”

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