Friday, June 9, 2017

NJ lawmakers vote to halt DEP Highlands septic tank rule

Assembly votes to stop state agency from boosting number of septic tanks in pristine preserve, source of drinking water for millions in NJ

Tom Johnson reports for
NJ Spotlight:
Upset with a new rule they say threatens water supplies from the Highlands, lawmakers gave final approval yesterday to a measure that could block its implementation by the Christie administration.
By a 52-24 vote, the Assembly moved to bar the state Department of Environmental Protection from changing regulations to allow more development in the region, the source of drinking water for six million residents.
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The vote sets up another confrontation between Democratic lawmakers and the administration over the latter’s efforts to overhaul the state’s environmental regulations, a continuing dispute during the past seven years.
The resolution stipulates that the new rule, just recently adopted by the DEP, is inconsistent with legislative intent, a rarely used tool that allows lawmakers to block actions by the executive branch. The resolution (ACR-192) was approved without debate.
The DEP has 30 days to either amend or withdraw the regulation, widely opposed by the state’s environmental groups. If no action is taken, the Legislature can rescind the rule by approving the resolution again.

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