NJ Legislature moves to block flood hazard rules

In one of the few victories scored recently by New Jersey environmental interests, the state Legislature has passed a measure putting the brakes on a controversial NJDEP rule that critics claim would roll back stream protections and increase flooding.

NJ Spotlight's environmental writer Tom Johnson reports:

By a 45-28-2 vote largely along partisan lines, the Assembly gave final approval to a resolution (SCR-180), saying that the massive rule revision proposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection last June is inconsistent with legislative intent of current laws.

The measure, approved without debate during the last day of the current session, marks the use of a legislative tool that allows lawmakers to prevent the executive branch from adopting regulations it opposes. Only one Republican, outgoing

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth), sided with Democrats in voting for the resolution.

Much of the state’s environmental community strongly opposed the 936-page rule, calling it a rollback of some of New Jersey’s most important protections dealing with pristine streams. But the DEP and various business interests touted the rule as streamlining a burdensome regulatory process that hinders economic growth.

The DEP has 30 days to respond to the resolution by changing the rules, withdrawing them, or going forward with the original proposal. If the agency goes forward with the rule, the Legislature can void the proposal by both houses adopting a resolution.

Read the full story here 

In the video clip above, New Jersey Nightly News anchor Mary Alice Williams asks NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel why his group and others believe the resolution is necessary.

If the video does not work for you, you can view it here

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