Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NJ lawmakers may seek to block DEP's septics rule

Department wants to open preserve to greater development, claiming water quality would not be adversely affected

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight

The state Department of Environmental Protection may be heading toward another confrontation with the Legislature — this time over a rule it is reviewing that would open up parts of the Highlands to more growth.
The regulation, proposed last year by the agency, would allow more septic systems in sensitive parts of the Highlands, a step critics argue would threaten the drinking water supplies of millions of residents.
Under a resolution to be considered by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Monday, the DEP could be blocked from adopting the rule because lawmakers contend it violates the legislative intent of a 13-year-old law to preserve and protect hundreds of thousands of acres in the Highlands, a region in central and north Jersey of woodlands, lakes, and rolling hills.
The rarely used legislative tool allows the legislative branch to overturn actions by the executive branch the former believes are inconsistent with laws that have been adopted. It has been used more often during the Christie administration in disputes over environmental policies, but not successfully, falling short of reversing rule changes, other than winning a procedural victory.
The proposed rule would increase the density of development in the preservation area of the Highlands by allowing more septic tanks per acre, a red flag to environmentalists because they are a primary source of nitrate pollution.

Read the full story

Like this? Use form in upper right to receive free updates
See popular posts from the last 30 days in right column --- >>

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article