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Bill advances without beach access requirement



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A legislative committee has advanced a bill that does not require better public access to New Jersey’s beaches that are replenished by federal funding after Superstorm Sandy.

The state Senate’s Environment and Energy committee on Thursday agreed there needs to be better access and said it will consider the requirement in the future.

The bill established how projects are prioritized under the state’s Shore Protection Program.

Advocates told lawmakers they want to see better beach access in all areas being replenished. They say the public should have access when public funds are used.

While existing law requires federally funded projects to provide public access, advocates say agencies and towns don’t do enough to open beaches, particularly around homes.