As part of New Jersey’s response to COVID-19, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe signed an administrative order today that extends deadlines for public comment on applications for certain permits and approvals to ensure opportunities for meaningful public engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding that COVID-19 has created many limitations for New Jersey residents and businesses, under Governor Murphy’s direction, DEP is extending public comment periods to help balance the many competing demands of this challenging moment in our State’s history.
Administrative Order 2020-06 follows Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 136, signed on May 2, which extended statutory timelines for DEP to make certain permitting decisions and adjusts reporting timelines for some of New Jersey’s environmental laws.
Taken together, these actions provide permit applicants with additional time to work with DEP on application requirements and provides DEP with the time it needs to ensure its decisions remain protective of public health, safety and the environment while affording the public the opportunity to inform those decisions. Neither the administrative order nor the executive order alter any environmental or public health standard, and DEP will continue to work expeditiously to review requests and issue decisions within or as close as possible to standard decision-making timelines.
“Ensuring transparency and listening to all sides are core principles at the DEP,” said Commissioner McCabe. “I am pleased to extend these deadlines to allow for additional public comment. While the COVID-19 public health emergency has changed how we work, learn and live, it does not change the importance of public participation in protecting New Jersey’s environment. We will continue to evaluate how we can adjust our administrative procedures and remain attentive to the needs of businesses and residents without sacrificing New Jersey’s environmental protections.”
The administrative order extends the minimum public comment periods on applications for the following:
- Individual and general permits under the Coastal Zone Management rules, Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules
- Water quality management plans
- Water allocation, water usage certifications and temporary dewatering permits
- Solid waste facility and hazardous waste permits
- Certain preconstruction and draft operating permits under the Air Pollution Control Rules
For details about the extension for each public comment period, refer to Administrative Order 2020-06: https://www.nj.gov/dep/covid19regulatorycompliance/docs/ao2020-06.pdf.
For a full list of the DEP’s COVID-19 regulatory compliance updates, visit: https://www.nj.gov/dep/covid19regulatorycompliance/.
Visit https://covid19.nj.gov/ to learn more about COVID-19 in New Jersey.
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