US-NJ | New Jersey Extends Select Statutory Environmental Deadlines under DEP Authority

In the June 1, 2020 New Jersey State Register, Governor Philip D. Murphy issued Executive Order No. 136. This Order impacts various activities administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by extending select statutory deadlines. The Order took effect on May 2, 2020 and will remain in effect until Governor Murphy determines that an emergency no longer exists.

Circumstances Affected by Executive Order No. 136

Any requests submitted to DEP will not be deemed complete or approved for failure to act within the prescribed time frame. Below are specific circumstances whose statutory deadlines are impacted.

  • Development and Construction Projects | For areas that could be adversely affected, DEP must act on an application for a construction permit within 90 days. If DEP does not act within this time frame, the application is deemed approved without conditions.
  • Coastal Area Facility Review Act | For areas that could be adversely affected under this act, DEP must notify the permit applicant in writing regarding the completeness of its application within 20 days of receipt. DEP must also present the application for public comment within 15 days and no more than 60 days after the application is declared complete.
  • Solid Waste Utilities | DEP must act on applications for certain economic transactions within either 30 or 60 days of receipt. If DEP does not act within this time frame, the application is deemed approved without conditions.
  • Control of Stream Encroachments | Certain administrative and enforcement functions can be delegated to county governing bodies, and the integration of flood control activities of the municipal, county, State, and Federal governments. DEP must act on applications from municipalities or designated agencies for proposed stream cleaning, clearing, or disengaging within either 15 or 60 days of receipt. If DEP does not act within this time frame, the application is deemed approved without conditions.

Additionally, registration and reporting deadlines have been extended for business and governing bodies engaged in recycling services.

Time Frames for Review under Executive Order No. 136

DEP is authorized to establish earlier time frames for review and decisions on specific permit applications, with appropriate public notice, if:

  • DEP determines that an earlier decision is in the public interest
  • There is a need to maintain maintain appropriate sequencing with federal time frames

This includes:

  • Reviewing all applications within applicable time frames to the maximum extent practicable and as necessary to satisfy its obligations of State implementation of a federal program pursuant to Federal law.
  • Expediting to the extent practicable and in accordance with the CDC guidelines the review of any applications DEP deems necessary to protect health, safety, and the environment. This also applies to applications that are otherwise related to the Federal or State response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sources:

52 N.J. Reg. 1105(a) (Jun. 1, 2020), Office of the Gov., Exec. Order No. 136

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