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NJBIA hosted several senior leaders from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the department’s environmental justice policies and its anticipated implementation of S-232 concerning overburdened communities (currently pending on the Governor’s desk). Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Deputy Commissioner Olivia Glenn, and Chief Advisor for Regulatory Affairs, Sean Moriarty met with over sixty attendees were a Zoom conference call.
Glenn was recently promoted within the department with a focus of promoting environmental justice policies and the implementation of S-232. She spoke about her previous experiences in this area, both inside and outside the department. She said she is drawing on her experiences working with the department’s Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI) in Camden in her role with the Audubon Society. She promised a continued focus on the CCI, which develops partnerships between the department and local governments to solve environmental problems and improve the lives of residents.
She emphasized that economic growth and environmental protection are compatible goals.
LaTourette spoke specifically about the implementation of S-232. He emphasized that the department will take a balanced approach, will seek reasonable and workable solutions, and will not seek to deny permits or shut down businesses. LaTourette understood that the bill contained vague language and that the advocates for environmental justice communities were taking a stringent view of how the law would be interpreted and implemented. He did his best to assure everyone that the department did not share those viewpoints and that its implementation would be reasonable and balanced.
Moriarty has the legal responsibility of actually crafting the rule to implement S-232. He promised a robust stakeholder process that would likely begin in October. While recognizing the difficult process ahead to craft a workable rule while listening to all sides and finding a correct balance, Moriarty promised the business community a seat at the table.
Given the vagueness of the legislation, the fact that it is unique in the nation and contains several provisions never before implemented by an environmental regulatory agency, and given the political environment in which New Jersey businesses find themselves, NJBIA intends to maintain its vigilance during the regulatory process. If you have any concerns or would like to suggest criteria for how the law would be applied, please reach out to Ray Cantor at email@example.com.