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Benson & McKeon Bill to Help Municipalities to Include Climate Change Element in Land Use Master Plan Becomes Law

(TRENTON) – Encouraging municipalities to assess the effects of climate change on their towns in their master plan, legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) was signed into law Thursday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law (formerly bill A-2785) requires that the land use plan element of a municipal master plan include a climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment. The law is effective immediately and will apply to any future land use plan.

The law also requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), upon request by a planning board, to provide technical assistance, as practicable, to a municipality preparing a climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment required by the law.

Assemblymen Benson and McKeon released the following joint statement:

“By adding another sub-element to the land use plan that focuses on the municipality’s climate change vulnerability, we can better prepare for future storms and other extreme weather occurrences in our communities.

“The powerful storms we’ve seen over the last ten years are more than enough reason to take the effects of global warming and climate change more seriously. Encouraging the planning to be included in a municipality’s master plan will help to build our resiliency in our most vulnerable communities.”