(TRENTON) — Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Vice Chairman John F. McKeon (D-Essex) had the following published recently on NJSpotlight:
“The Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed rules changes to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act presently permit an influx of real estate development in our state’s natural floodplains. This increase in development is sure to lead to the piecemeal destruction of the vegetation that serves as a natural buffer along the streams in the floodplains. Those vegetative buffers function like a large sponge — soaking up flood water and filtering pollution before it can run down into our main waterways.
“With climate change bringing stronger, more destructive weather events, such as superstorm Sandy just under four years ago, one would think the DEP would get the picture by now. The weakening of environmental rules and regulations such as the flood hazard rules is the opposite of what we need to be doing to safeguard New Jersey from future environmental, economic catastrophe.
“The potential loss of these buffer zones will have a particularly acute impact within the 450,000-acre Highlands Preservation Area which stretches across Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Passaic, and Sussex counties. This area is not only a pristine expanse open to the public for our recreational enjoyment, it also doubles as a natural water filter of considerable size.”
To read the rest of Assemblyman McKeon’s op-ed, click here.