Menendez: "Common sense step to keep our communities safe."

New Jersey - U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today hailed federal resources to assess the danger of abandoned mines in Northern Jersey, calling the effort a "common sense step to keep our communities safe."

Under the new grant, New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection will receive nearly $270,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to "study the problem of ground instability and subsidence, or surface depressions, associated with abandoned mines." The grants were announced today.

According to the New Jersey State DEP, there are an estimated 600 mines in North Jersey, with the majority in Morris, Sussex, Warren, and northern Passaic counties. There almost 80 collapses of abandoned mines issues in North Jersey over the past 30 years.

Sen. Menendez said, "These mines may be abandoned, but they are still dangerous. Basic forces like rain, snow, and ice as well as the passage of time can cause these mines to collapse - putting people living around them at risk. Assessing the risk is a common sense step to keep our communities safe."