SENATE, No. 1513

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 27, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits issuance of DEP permits and approvals for development related to drilling for oil and natural gas off NJ coast.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, amending R.S.12:5-3 and P.L.1970, c.272, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.12:5-3 is amended to read as follows:

     12:5-3.  a.  All plans for the development of any waterfront upon any navigable water or stream of this State or bounding thereon, which is contemplated by any person or municipality, in the nature of individual improvement or development or as a part of a general plan which involves the construction or alteration of a dock, wharf, pier, bulkhead, bridge, pipeline, cable, or any other similar or dissimilar waterfront development shall be first submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection.  No such development or improvement shall be commenced or executed without the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection first had and received, or as hereinafter in this chapter provided. 

     b.    The following are exempt from the provisions of subsection a. of this section: 

     (1)   The repair, replacement or renovation of a permanent dock, wharf, pier, bulkhead or building existing prior to January 1, 1981, provided the repair, replacement or renovation does not increase the size of the structure and the structure is used solely for residential purposes or the docking or servicing of pleasure vessels; 

     (2)   The repair, replacement or renovation of a floating dock, mooring raft or similar temporary or seasonal improvement or structure, provided the improvement or structure does not exceed in length the waterfront frontage of the parcel of real property to which it is attached and is used solely for the docking or servicing of pleasure vessels; and

     (3)   Development in the coastal area, as defined in section 4 of P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-4), landward of the mean high water line of any tidal waters.

     c.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection shall not, as a condition of approval required pursuant to subsection a. of this section, include solar panels in any calculation of impervious surface or impervious cover.

     As used in this subsection, "solar panel" means an elevated panel or plate, or a canopy or array thereof, that captures and converts solar radiation to produce power, and includes flat plate, focusing solar collectors, or photovoltaic solar cells and excludes the base or foundation of the panel, plate, canopy, or array.

     d.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection shall not issue a permit or any other form of approval pursuant to subsection a. of this section for a development, facility or activity associated with offshore drilling for oil or natural gas.

(cf:  P.L.2010, c.4, s.1)

 

     2.    Section 4 of P.L.1970, c.272 (C.13:9A-4) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    a.  For the purposes of this section, "regulated activity" includes but is not limited to draining, dredging, excavation or removal of soil, mud, sand, gravel, aggregate of any kind or depositing or dumping therein any rubbish or similar material or discharging therein liquid wastes, either directly or otherwise, and the erection of structures, drivings of pilings, or placing of obstructions, whether or not changing the tidal ebb and flow.  "Regulated activity" shall not include continuance of commercial production of salt hay or other agricultural crops or activities conducted under section 7 of [this act] P.L.1970, c.272 (C.13:9A-7).

     b.    No regulated activity shall be conducted upon any wetland without a permit.

     c.    Any person proposing to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity upon any wetland shall file an application for a permit with the commissioner, in such form and with such information as the commissioner may prescribe and shall provide notice to each electric or gas public utility in the State and to each owner of all real property as shown on the current tax duplicate, located in the State and within 200 feet in all directions of the property which is the subject of such application in the manner prescribed by section 7.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-12).  Such application shall include a detailed description of the proposed work and a map showing the area of wetland directly affected, with the location of the proposed work thereon, together with the names of the owners of record of adjacent land and known claimants of rights in or adjacent to the wetlands of whom the applicant has notice.  All applications, with any maps and documents relating thereto, shall be open for inspection at the office of the Department of Environmental Protection.

     d.    In granting, denying or limiting any permit the commissioner shall consider the effect of the proposed work with reference to the public health and welfare, marine fisheries, shell fisheries, wildlife, the protection of life and property from flood, hurricane and other natural disasters, and the public policy set forth in subsection a. of section [1a. of this act] 1 of P.L.1970, c.272 (C.13:9A-1).

     e.    Notwithstanding the provisions of any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection shall not issue a permit or any other form of approval pursuant to P.L.1970, c.272 (C.13:9A-1 et seq.) for any regulated activity associated with offshore drilling for oil or natural gas.

(cf:  P.L.1983, c.133, s.1)

 

     3.    (New section) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall not issue a permit or any other form of approval pursuant to the "Coastal Area Facility Review Act," P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for a development in the coastal area associated with offshore drilling for oil or natural gas.

 

     4.    (New section) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall not issue a permit or any other form of approval pursuant to the federal "Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972," 16 U.S.C.s.1451 et seq., or any other permit or form of approval required pursuant to State or federal law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for a development, facility or activity associated with offshore drilling for oil or natural gas.

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would prohibit the Commissioner of Environmental Protection from issuing any permit or other form of approval pursuant to R.S.12:5-3, “The Wetlands Act of 1970,” P.L.1970, c.272 (C.13:9A-1 et seq.), and the “Coastal Area Facility Review Act,” P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-1 et seq.) for any development, facility, or activity associated with drilling for oil or natural gas off the coast of New Jersey.  These laws are commonly referred to as “waterfront development,” “coastal wetlands,” and “CAFRA.”  The bill would also prohibit the Commissioner of Environmental Protection from issuing a permit or any other form of approval pursuant to the federal "Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972," 16 U.S.C.s.1451 et seq., or any other permit or form of approval required pursuant to State or federal law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for a development, facility or activity associated with drilling for oil or natural gas off the coast of New Jersey.

     New Jersey is well known for its inviting coastline, which provides recreational opportunities for residents and visitors from near and far.  The State’s 127-mile long coast along the Atlantic Ocean and 83 miles of shoreline along the Raritan and Delaware Bays are an ecological treasure and economic engine for the state. Miles of sandy beaches, bustling boardwalks and busy coastal waterways provide New Jersey with a robust tourism industry.  The allure of New Jersey’s coastline has proven so great that the vast majority of its more than 8 million residents live within 30 miles of the coast.  The fishing, shellfishing, and tourism industries in New Jersey contribute many millions of dollars annually to the State economy and are priceless contributors to the quality of life and enjoyment of shore communities for residents and visitors alike.  Many of the State’s natural treasures, resources, and industries would be seriously jeopardized, if not destroyed or devastated, by contamination from oil spills or accidents involving the drilling for, transportation of, and development of oil and natural gas reserves off the State’s coast.  This bill seeks to protect the State from a disaster like the one resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig leased by the oil company British Petroleum (BP), in the Gulf of Mexico.