Hazardous materials coming into South Jersey's ports and roadways would face greater oversight under legislation that cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee this week. 

Flickr User Texas Military Forces

The bill would grant police officers of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) the power to inspect hazardous materials carriers.  Currently, only members of the State Police, Port Authority Police and specific personnel from the State Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection are authorized to do so.

"There is no such thing as being too vigilant in this day and age," said bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.  "DRPA police are already trained in this specialty, so it seems counter intuitive not to grant them the authority to oversee potentially hazardous materials coming into our waters."

"Having an extra set of eyes and ears inspecting our cargo makes practical sense, especially when it comes to DRPA police who specialize in guarding our waterways and bridges," said bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Gilbert "Whip" Wilson.  "This should give residents and businesses greater peace of mind."

The measure now heads to the full Assembly.