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Waiver Rule Challenged in State Supreme Court

Date : Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:19:36 -0400

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2013 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Waiver Rule Challenged in State Supreme Court Twenty 28 environmental groups are petitioning the State Supreme Court on the DEP Waiver Rule.Columbia Environmental Law Clinic made the filing on behalf of the organizations seeking to block the DEP's Waiver Rule. This comes after an appellate court deferred to the DEP under the agency's discretionary powers.The DEP Waiver Rule is probably the most important rule ever to be challenged. The Waiver Rule is the first rule of its kind to make such broad sweeping changes with the potential to undo 30 years of environment protection.After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy we know that where we protect the environment we did better in protecting property and people from flooding, but where we waiver we do more damage to the environment making this that much more important.

"We are celebrating Earth Day by challenging the waiver rule to the state Supreme Court.We believe the appellate division was wrong in their decision and we need to continue to work to get the rule overturned.While Earth Day is an important day to celebrate the environment it is even more important to fight rules like the Waiver Rule.This rule will do damage to the environment not only on Earth Day, but every day and that is why we are taking it to the Supreme Court," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

124 existing rules can be waived under the Waiver Rule allowing polluters and developers to be exempt from critical environmental and public health and safety protections including the Pollution Prevention Act, hazardous discharge regulations, and air pollution controls.Many of the Department rules that could be waived already have waiver provisions written into the regulations, based on the intent of the Legislature in adopting those protections.Adding more waivers is going to create loopholes big enough for bulldozers.

"Challenging the Waiver Rule is even more important given the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.Waiving and rolling back environmental standards only make flood and storm damage worse.We are taking on the Waiver Rule so we can have a more resilient and sustainable future," said Jeff Tittel. "This is the worst rule ever proposed and we believe there is no better way to spend Earth Day then challenging this rule." This rule is going to create a bigger slowdown in environmental permitting as all applicants will want a waiver and will sue the DEP when they do not receive one. Waivers will be case-by-case so anyone can come in and apply, adding more work for an already overburdened DEP staff and less transparency and predictability in permitting.The development community has emphasized the need for transparency and predictability in the permit application process, and these rules do neither.This rule is not a response to problems faced by regulators; it simply allows DEP and developers to side-step environmental protections.

"The Governor is not doing an Earth Day event and given his record he should not.However we are taking on his Waiver Rule, the centerpiece of anti-environmental agenda and we hope the Supreme Court will overturn the appellate court decision.Now that's the way to celebrate Earth Day," said Jeff Tittel.

_________________________________________________________ NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives: http:lists.sierraclub.org/archives/NJ-EXCOM.html<a>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Received on 2013-04-22 13:19:36

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