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PRESS RELEASE: NJDEP Plans Release of New Stormwater Rules for Public Comment this Summer

New Jersey is on the brink of becoming a national leader with unprecedented regulations that make residents, communities, businesses, and our shared natural environment safer and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Today, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Regulation (NJDEP) announced that the Protecting Against Climate Threat Resilient Environments and Landscapes (NJPACT REAL) rules are moving forward and will be published for public comment this summer.

“In 2020, Governor Murphy made a pact with New Jersey to make us safer from the escalating impacts of the climate crisis. The NJPACT REAL rules are a groundbreaking set of regulations that will save lives and properties and strengthen protections for critical habitats,” said Jennifer M. Coffey, Executive Director,
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commission (ANJEC). “We’ve waited too long for these regulations and too many people have been impacted. These regulations undo the rollbacks in protections from Governor Christie’s era and take us to where we need to be in thinking about current and future climate change impacts. We urge Governor Murphy to adopt them as quickly as possible.”

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has developed the Protecting Against Climate Threat Resilient Environments and Landscapes (NJPACT REAL) rules, a groundbreaking set of regulations that will:

  • Integrate sea level rise modeling into land use planning.
  • Mandate stormwater management for all redevelopment.
  • Strengthen wetlands protection.

“We applaud Governor Murphy and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for moving the NJ PACT rules forward! Implementing these important public health and safety measures to better manage stormwater, strengthen wetlands and more as soon as possible will protect New Jersey residents,” said Alison Mitchell, Co-Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “Businesses will benefit too, because flooding impacts everyone.”

“Climate change is no longer a future problem – it’s here today, and it’s far past time we realized we are making life and death decisions with how we build and rebuild in communities across New Jersey. The release of the NJPACT REAL rules is an important step in the fight to protect homes and critical buildings like hospitals and schools, particularly along our coast,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “As the most densely populated state in the country, we need to lead the charge on protecting against sea level rise and chronic flooding. Adopting these rules and updating how and where we build will quite literally save lives in the years to come, and we urge the administration to adopt these critical protective rules as soon as possible.” 

“Today is a major step forward for protecting our frontline coastal communities in New Jersey who are facing rising sea levels and unprecedented flooding even on sunny days. The NJPACT REAL rules will keep people and property safe and out of harm’s way, and most importantly will update our flood zones to reflect modern climate science,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director of the NJ Sierra Club. “Thank you to the New Jersey DEP and Governor Murphy for pushing these lifesaving rules closer to the finish line, and we look forward to their swift adoption. Thanks to the action taken today, New Jersey can keep our heads above water.”

“The REAL regulations will have an unprecedented impact on our collective efforts to make New Jersey more resilient,” said Eric Olsen, Director of Conservation Programs for The Nature Conservancy. “Prioritizing sound science and proactive planning is critical to protecting both people and nature against the escalating risks of climate change. We look forward to reviewing the rules in depth and thank both the Governor for his leadership and the New Jersey DEP for their efforts in making our state a leader on climate resilience.”  

“We will have to digest over 1000 pages of rule proposals before we can come to a conclusion about the adequacy of these rules to address the very real climate threats we face in the State,” said Elliott Ruga, Policy and Communications Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. “But based on the discussions we have had with DEP, the walkthroughs of the rules they have provided us and their thought processes in amending these land use regulations, we believe the proposed rules are motivated by a sincere effort to get ahead of the threats. We believe that the health and safety of New Jersey and ensuring a bright economic future has driven every one of the rule changes. We look forward to reviewing the rules in depth and commenting accordingly.”

“The damaging effects of the climate crisis are all around us and are particularly serious for our densely populated coastal state,” said Anne Poole, President of the New Jersey Environmental Lobby.  “These rules will be welcomed by those who want human life and property protected in New Jersey, and future generations will be grateful.”

“The Watershed Institute applauds Governor Murphy and the NJ DEP for taking an important step towards protecting New Jersey’s residents and environment from the serious threats of climate change, said Jim Waltman, The Watershed Institute. Four years ago, the Governor made a bold commitment to modify DEP’s regulatory and permitting programs to better prepare our state for projected changes to sea levels, precipitation, flooding, and other manifestations of climate change. The rules announced today will provide New Jersey with important tools to make our communities safer and more resilient to climate change. We look forward to reviewing these proposed rules and working towards their adoption.”

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