Senator STEVEN V. OROHO
District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)
Senator STEPHEN M. SWEENEY
District 3 (Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester)
Senators Van Drew, Kyrillos and Karrow
†††† Establishes in DEP the Environmental Policy Review Board to review proposed environmental regulations for consistency with planning policies.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
†††† As introduced.
An Act establishing the Environmental Policy Review Board in the Department of Environmental Protection to review proposed environmental regulations, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.
†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
†††† 1.††† The Legislature finds and declares that New Jersey, the nationís most densely populated State, requires sound and integrated Statewide planning, and the Statewide coordination of State, local, and regional planning entities and programs, so as to conserve natural resources, revitalize urban centers, protect the quality of the environment, and provide needed affordable and workforce housing and adequate public services at a reasonable cost, while promoting beneficial economic growth, development and renewal, and environmental and natural resource protection.†
†††† The Legislature further finds and declares that an adequate response to the need for development in areas appropriate for development, redevelopment, and housing requires sound and balanced planning, resource protection, and environmental regulation; and that the current system of natural resource protection and environmental regulation is, at times, inconsistent with the policies and goals enunciated above.
†††† The Legislature also finds and declares that the protection of the Stateís natural resources, through a balanced and scientifically sound system of regulation, is in the public interest; and that in order to achieve this goal, a process should be established for the systematic review of regulations proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection in order to ensure their scientific sufficiency, soundness and consistency.
†††† The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the public interest to encourage the coordination of the Department of Environmental Protectionís rules, regulations, and policies with the Stateís policies, procedures, regulations, and standards, in order to develop and enhance sound, balanced, consistent, and comprehensive planning.
†††† 2.††† There is established in the Department of Environmental Protection the Environmental Policy Review Board.†
†††† a.†††† The Environmental Policy Review Board shall consist of 13 members, as follows:
†††† (1)†† The Commissioner of Environmental Protection or the commissionerís designee;
†††† (2)†† The Commissioner of Community Affairs, or the commissionerís designee;
†††† (3)†† The Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, or the chief executive officerís designee; and
†††† (4)†† Ten members of the public to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for four-year terms, except that of those first appointed, two shall be appointed for a term of one year, two for a term of two years, two for a term of three years, and four for a term of four years.†
†††† Of the public members, two shall be elected municipal officials; three shall be representatives of the professional licensed planning community, each one with expertise, knowledge or experience in one or more areas of planning, including State, local or regional planning; two shall be representatives of the academic community with expertise, knowledge or experience in State, local or regional planning; one shall be a representative of a public interest group with expertise, knowledge or experience in State, local or regional planning; one shall be a representative of the building industry with expertise, knowledge or experience in State, local or regional planning; and one shall be a representative of the business community with expertise, knowledge or experience in State, local or regional planning.
†††† b.††† Vacancies in the membership of the Environmental Policy Review Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments are made and a member may be eligible for reappointment.†
†††† c.†††† The members of the Environmental Policy Review Board shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the board for its purposes.
†††† d.††† The Environmental Policy Review Board shall organize as soon as possible after the appointment of its members, and shall select a chairperson from among its members and a secretary who need not be a member of the board.
†††† A majority of the entire board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.† Action may be taken and motions and resolutions adopted by the board at any meeting thereof by the affirmative vote of a majority of the full membership of the board.
†††† e.†††† The Environmental Policy Review Board shall have the power, duty and responsibility to review any rule or regulation to be proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection, for consistency with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and other generally accepted planning principles and goals, as articulated by the State Planning Commission and the Office of Smart Growth in the Department of Community Affairs. †The board may waive its right, under this subsection, to review any rule or regulation of the department.
†††† f.†††† The Department of Environmental Protection shall submit to the Environmental Policy Review Board for its approval every draft rule or regulation in its final form before it may be proposed by the department in accordance with the ďAdministrative Procedure Act,Ē P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).† The Environmental Policy Review Board shall, within 90 days after receipt of a final draft rule or regulation to be proposed by the department, issue a written report indicating whether the rule or regulation should be proposed and published in the form and substance presented to the board, whether it should be modified, or whether it should not proceed as a proposal.
†††† g.†††† The findings of the Environmental Policy Review Board shall be binding on the department.† The department shall not propose a rule or regulation unless it has been approved by the board or the board has failed to act on the final draft of the rule or regulation within the 90-day period.
†††† Rules and regulations that are modified in response to the findings of the Environmental Policy Review Board shall be re-presented to the board for approval in the same manner as set forth in subsection f. of this section.
†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.
†††† This bill would create an independent Environmental Policy Review Board within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).†
†††† The 13-member Environmental Policy Review Board, made up of elected and appointed municipal, academic, business, public interest, and professional representatives, would have the power, duty and responsibility to review any rule or regulation to be proposed by the DEP, for consistency with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and other generally accepted planning principles and goals, as articulated by the State Planning Commission and the Office of Smart Growth in the Department of Community Affairs.
†††† Achieving balance in the Stateís efforts to protect the environment, encourage economic growth, and direct development into areas that are best suited for sustainable smart growth is difficult, and it is equally difficult to expect one single agency, whose principal responsibility is environmental protection, to successfully balance these sometimes competing interests.† The introduction of greater public participation through the creation of an environmental policy review board should enhance the Stateís ability to successfully balance these critical objectives.
†††† The members of the board would serve without compensation and should not require additional staff.† The bill is, therefore, anticipated to be revenue neutral.