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The state Department of Environmental Protection has finalized a proposal to rescind its Air Quality General Permit for Research & Development – without a replacement option. 

The removal of Permit GP-020, which provides operational flexibility needed by R&D operations while providing appropriate public health protections, runs counter to New Jersey’s efforts to be a state that embraces innovation firms, according to NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor.  

“No other state even requires a permit for these activities, but now the DEP is proposing to repeal this General Permit,” Cantor said. “If the rule becomes final, it will be much more difficult for the 30 or so R&D companies which use it to do business in New Jersey. It will also serve as a disincentive for technology firms to consider locating here.” 

DEP’s concerns are based on concerns that the thresholds of certain Hazard Air Pollutants (HAPs) are not protective enough.  

Cantor, however, explained that it was the DEP which created the list of HAPs through a rigorous health evaluation process. 

“If anything, DEP should consider modifying the permit to address whatever issues they have – not to just repeal it and hurt R&D in the state,” he said.  

If GP-020 is rescinded, a preconstruction permit will be required for R&D firms. 

The proposal was published in the New Jersey Register on Monday, starting a public comment period.