Green Groups: Proposed Overhaul of Stormwater Rules Doesn't Go Far Enough

Sourced from NJ Spotlight

The state is proposing to overhaul one of the most contentious rules adopted by the Christie administration, but critics say it falls short in dealing with the single biggest problem impairing New Jersey’s waters — stormwater runoff.

The proposal, the first major regulation offered by the state Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Phil Murphy, mostly amends rules involving stormwater management, an issue often blamed for increasing the risk of flooding and threatening water quality.

One of the more significant changes — a focus on requiring so-called green infrastructure to better manage stormwater — won praise from virtually all 10 people who spoke at a hearing at DEP headquarters in Trenton yesterday. Green infrastructure aims to mimic the natural water cycle by creating rain gardens, green roofs and permeable pavements to control runoff by allowing it to be absorbed into soil or vegetation.

Rebecca Hammer of the Natural Resources Defense Council called the embrace of green infrastructure a step in the right direction, but added the proposal fails to modify parts of the existing rule that are too lax. “The proposal, in an of itself, does not go far enough,’’ she said, echoing a criticism voiced by other conservation groups.

Henry Gajda of the League of Conservation Voters of New Jersey agreed. “Within these rules, there’s more work to be done,’’ said Gajda, noting the overhaul does not even address the projected $16 billion needed in New Jersey to fix stormwater and pollution problems.

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