Skip to main content
Tell your legislator to say NO to the Governor’s permanent Corporate Transit Fee. SEND A MESSAGE

NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor heaved a 1,057-page document atop his podium during this week’s Energy Regulatory Conference. 

But the potential impacts within the courtesy copy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s forthcoming Land Use rule proposals will carry decidedly more weight. 

In his presentation, Cantor described four major components of the rule:  

  • Provisions expanding the flood area based on an assumption of sea level rise 
  • Changes to stormwater management for redevelopment projects 
  • The elimination of most permits by rules (PBRs) being replaced by general permits-by-registration; and   
  • Everything else 

And that “everything else,” includes wetlands impacts, buffers on barrier islands and directional drilling, just to name a few. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of little changes,” Cantor said. “And even those little changes are sometimes going to have major impacts. 

“All of them are going to have some impact on how you do business. And this is not just development. If you have a business, a facility that you’re operating, it’s going to impact the things you can or cannot do.” 

Cantor spent most of his presentation focusing on the DEP’s proposal to incorporate sea level rise into flood hazard areas which are largely determined by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mapping. 

This “climate adjusted flood elevation” assumes an additional 5 feet on top of the existing FEMA mapped flood elevation. 

So, as an example, if the current flood elevation is 6 feet above sea level, any development would then need to be elevated by 11 feet – plus an additional foot of freeboard. 

The problem with that, Cantor said, is the DEP is basing these standards on a 2019 Rutgers report which acknowledges 5 feet of sea level rise by 2100 as an unlikely scenario. 

He also said that no other state, national body, or international entity is imposing a flood sea level rise standard that high.  

“The science has evolved,” Cantor said. “That 2019 report was based on certain projections, certain assumptions, certain expert judgments, but not a lot of hard science behind it. 

“They’re making an assumption that in 75 years from now, (land that does not currently flood) will be underwater. And they’re going to regulate you today based on that assumption and make you comply with all the requirements that are already part of the flood hazard rules.” 

Cantor said that with New Jersey’s land sinking about 1 foot per century and warming waters, New Jersey could anticipate “between 2 and 3 feet of sea level rise” between now and the end of the century and he would be submitting comments and testimony during the comment period. 

Cantor said it is anticipated that the Land Use rules, termed PACT (Protection Against Climate Threats) and REAL (Resilient Environment and Landscapes), will be officially proposed in July. Thereafter, there will be a 90-day comment period and three public hearings. 

To see Cantor’s full speech, click here. 

To see a courtesy copy of NJDEP’s proposed Land Use rules, click here.