• N.J. Department of Environmental Protection to Begin Accepting Waiver Rule Applications on August 1, 2012
  • August 2, 2012 | Author: Harvey C. Johnson
  • Law Firm: Duane Morris LLP - Cherry Hill Office
  • The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will begin accepting waiver rule applications on August 1, 2012. According to NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin, "This rule provides us with a modest measure of flexibility to manage special circumstances but through a process that will be used under limited circumstances and with total transparency."

    In one of his first official acts, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued Executive Order #2 establishing a "waiver rule" that could be applied to certain environmental regulations enforced by NJDEP. The waiver rule allows NJDEP to grant exemptions if:

    1. the rule conflicts with another NJDEP rule or a rule of another state or federal agency in a way that makes compliance with both rules impossible or impracticable;
    2. strict compliance with the rule would result in actual and exceptional hardship or excessive cost where there is a cheaper alternative that is as or more protective of the public or the environment;
    3. there will be, despite the waiver, a net protection of the natural resource or other environmental good being waived; or
    4. an authorized federal or state official declares a public emergency justifying the waiver.

    This rule would likely provide needed relief from technical "catch-22s" that have led to protracted and expensive development delays, even where every effort has been undertaken to comply with NJDEP's often-inconsistent maze of rules.

    Businesses or individuals with current or anticipated disputes with NJDEP over the strict application of a regulatory requirement should consider whether the waiver rule might apply to their situation.