The full extent of the Environmental Justice (EJ) law, which the CCSNJ opposed while being considered by the Legislature, will be realized once regulations are proposed and adopted. NJDEP launched a public process for development of the EJ rules immediately upon the law’s enactment last September and expects to propose regulations this year for formal public comment. The rules could be adopted as early as spring of 2022.
Specifically, AO 2021-25, which takes effect immediately, sets the following requirements:
- Extends the public comment periods to at least 60 days, with a potential extension for an additional 30 day period upon the written request of a member(s) of the overburdened community;
- Requires a mandatory public hearing in a manner intended to maximize participation of individuals within the overburdened community;
- During the extended public comment period and public hearing, encourage individuals to provide information regarding existing conditions within the overburdened community and potential facility-wide environmental and public health stressors that could result in adverse impacts in the event of an approval;
- Requires the applicant to respond to and address the concerns raised by individuals in the overburdened community and to conduct any additional related analysis that the NJDEP deems necessary for its review;
- Strongly encourages each applicant to engage directly with individuals in the overburdened community in advance of, and in addition to, formal public comment, including providing relevant information related to facility-wide impacts; and
- Where permits or approvals may be issued, the NJDEP will apply such special conditions as may be necessary to avoid or minimize environmental or public health stressors.
Should you have any questions, please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager of Government Affairs at email@example.com