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NJBIA said the state’s decision to adopt final Environmental Justice rules on Monday without any of the substantive changes recommended by the business community sends the message that New Jersey is not open to manufacturing and the well-paying jobs this industry provides.

The rules implement the 2020 law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, which required the state Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of certain types of facilities when reviewing permit applications and deny permits to any that will have a disproportionately negative impact on communities determined to be overburdened.

“Unfortunately, these regulations exceed legislative intent, are not balanced in any way, and fail to recognize the benefits good-paying jobs bring to communities and the state as a whole,” NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor said after the final rules were published Monday in the New Jersey Register.

“These rules will essentially lock out any new manufacturing from coming into the state and significantly prevent the expansion of existing businesses,” Cantor said. “Even existing New Jersey manufacturers, seeking a permit renewal, may be forced to relocate out of state. The clear message is that New Jersey is not open to manufacturing and the good-paying jobs they deliver.”

In addition to the impact on manufacturers, the rules would also prohibit new recycling facilities and make it harder to expand existing ones, Cantor said.

“While the Legislature passes new laws intended to increase recycling rates, these rules move in the opposite direction,” Cantor said.

The rules even limit the ability to do environmentally beneficial public works projects at a time when the state is expecting to receive $4.8 billion in federal aid for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Cantor said the environmental justice rule will “make it decidedly more difficult to get the money out the door.”

“NJBIA supports smart environmental laws that seek to improve the lives of the people in disadvantaged communities. Unfortunately, these rules do little to improve the lives of the people they intend to protect, while ensuring New Jersey will be extremely challenged to define itself as a manufacturing state.”