Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Vice-Chair John F. McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) issued the following statement Thursday regarding Department of Environmental Protection changes that would roll back environmental protection regulations intended to protect waters and natural habitats:
“Members of the legislature, myself included, along with nearly every environmental group in New Jersey and thousands of members of the public asked the DEP to go back to the drawing board with these rule changes. What they have come back with is nearly as detrimental.
“These rule changes would continue to allow more developers to have exemptions to flood hazard rules, purposefully working against the spirit of the Flood Hazard Control Act. Buffers and buffer zones around rivers and tributaries would be drastically reduced or even completely eliminated. This would result in more flooding and more contaminated drinking water. This is simply unacceptable.
“With climate change bringing stronger and stronger storms, such as Superstorm Sandy just under four years ago, one would think the DEP would get it at this point. 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 catastrophe.”