NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Saturday signed Executive Order No. 136, extending statutory deadlines required under environmental laws for the length of New Jersey’s public health emergency. The order, which suspends timeframes for certain permit decisions and reporting, will ensure greater opportunities for public engagement while enabling the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct thorough environmental reviews.
“New Jersey’s public health emergency impacts the ability of public and private sectors to meet deadlines for the issuance or denial of permits, as well as certain environmental reporting,” Murphy said. “Today’s order enables the DEP to consistently conduct full and complete environmental reviews while maintaining its core mission of protecting the public health, safety, and the environment while ensuring a robust public participation process.”
“As we continue to make progress in our fight against COVID-19, the DEP will continue to balance the needs and logistical limitations of business, government and community stakeholders,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “This order gives DEP greater discretion to extend certain decision deadlines if necessary to achieve that balance while providing meaningful opportunities for public participation. Make no mistake, DEP remains hard at work during the public health emergency and will keep moving permit applications in a timely manner just as we will keep protecting our environment and public health.”
Among the directives, Executive Order No. 136 includes the following:
- Pauses or delays timeframes governing the Department’s provision of public notice, review and decisions on permits and other approvals for the duration of the public health emergency, including those which would deem applications approved without conditions deemed necessary by DEP to ensure protection of public health, safety and the environment.
- Extends deadlines for soil and fill recycling services under the Dirty Dirt Law by the number of days of the Public Health Emergency declared in Executive Order No. 103 (2020) plus an additional 60 days.
- Extends the July 1, 2020 deadline for the governing body of each municipality to submit its yearly recycling tonnage report to DEP by 60 days.
- Extends the August 1, 2020 deadline for recyclers, manufacturers, collection locations and local government units who collect electronic devices to submit their semiannual report to DEP by 60 days.
- Directs DEP to identify where public comment periods must be extended to ensure adequate public participation.