The state Department of Environmental Protection has notified NJBIA that it will issue an Administrative Order to begin the implementation of the new Environmental Justice law, even though regulations have yet to be proposed, as required by the law.
The Administrative Order calls for six provisions when a facility in an overburdened community seeks a permit to locate or expand; or, for Title V facilities, renew their air permit.
- Requiring a 60-day comment period;
- Requiring a mandatory public hearing;
- Encouraging communities to express their concerns with the facility and make those concerns part of the record;
- Applicants must respond to those concerns and address them as best they can;
- Applicants are encouraged to engage with communities; and
- Where a permit is issued, facilities must make any concerns and the responses as part of the permit’s conditions
Under the new Environmental Justice law, there are 3,168 overburdened communities in over 300 municipalities.
NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor has received some preliminary feedback from the DEP for key questions regarding the implementation of the law. Here are a few responses:
Q: Does the AO apply even if there is no disproportionate impact?
A: The AO applies in all overburdened communities as defined by the Legislature based on census data and shown on DEP’s EJ mapping tool.
Q: Does the AO apply even if there is not an expansion, new facility, or renewal of a Title V?
A: No. AO will apply to the statutorily defined permits for new facilities, expansions or Title V renewals. And to only those facilities within the definitions in the EJ Law.
Q: Does the AO apply to SRP-related permits and approvals?
A: It would not apply where those permits are statutorily exempt.
Q: Does it apply to General Permits, Permits By Rule, and Permits By Certification?
A: No. Statutorily it applies to Individual Permits only.
Q: What happens if the facility is not adding to a disproportionate stressor?
A: DEP will review potential impacts to public health and environmental stressors on a case-by-case basis and seek to avoid or minimize any such impacts.
For further questions, please contact Ray Cantor at firstname.lastname@example.org.