The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently held its first stakeholder meeting as a first step toward implementing regulations for a sweeping Environmental Justice law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in September.
The virtual meeting was hosted on Oct. 22 by NJDEP Deputy Commissioner Olivia Glenn and Chief Regulatory Advisor Sean Moriarty, who have been charged with crafting the regulations. The law cannot go into effect until the regulations are adopted.
The meeting was very well attended, with nearly 200 stakeholders – many of whom spoke up in favor of an expansive implementation of the law.
From the business side only three people testified, two from the recycling industry and myself. More stakeholder meetings are being planned, including smaller, and more focused meetings. However, DEP is asking that comments be submitted within 30 days from that meeting.
The DEP made a PowerPoint presentation describing the new law and the key questions they believe need to be answered. Some of these questions include:
- What should be included as environmental justice impact assessments?
- What other factors (other than those specified in the bill) should be considered when determining stressors?
- Should comparison of stressors be measured by city, county, region, or state?
- What mitigation should be allowed or required?
While NJBIA did not support the legislation in the form it was enacted, we are hopeful that our concerns will be addressed in the regulatory process and we look forward to working with the DEP to ensure that overburdened communities are protected while enabling businesses to grow and locate in our urbanized and industrial areas.
NJBIA has been hosting a business coalition focusing on this topic. If you want to participate, or have questions about the environmental justice law or regulatory process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.