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NJDEP Begins Implementing Environmental Justice Law

NJDEP Begins Implementing Environmental Justice Law

Author: Daniel T. McKillopDate: October 15, 2021

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is wasting no time in implementing the state’s environmental justice initiatives. On September 22, 2021, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette issued an Administrative Order (AO 2021-25) clarifying the NJDEP’s permit applications assessment for facilities located or sought to be located in overburdened communities. The Order seeks to rely on existing tools to advance the NJDEP’s environmental justice policy goals while the agency works to promulgate the regulations necessary to implement the Environmental Justice Law (N.J.S.A. 13:1D-157).

“New Jersey’s environmental justice rulemaking process is the first of its kind in the nation. Guided by Governor Murphy’s deep commitment to equity and justice, and our partnership with the Legislature to correct the policies and practices that have contributed to a disproportionate pollution burden upon low income and minority communities, DEP is creating a new regulatory framework,” Commissioner LaTourette said in a press statement. “Our rulemaking process is moving expediently, but we must pursue this important work carefully. Critical to our success is open engagement with all stakeholders – residents, advocates, local officials, and the regulated community. In the meantime, DEP can and will better utilize its existing tools to promote a greater degree of environmental justice, and this Order will help us do so.”

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