New Jersey To Force Builders To Assess Climate Change Impact

Governor Phil Murphy is expected to sign an executive order that would force builders to take climate change into account if they want to receive government approval for their projects. The move would make New Jersey the first state to require builders to assess the impact their proposals would have on climate change, including rising sea levels, and the order is believed to be the broadest example of a state harnessing their land-use powers to control where, how, and when developers can build.

The move is intended to counteract Trump administration policies that have been rolling back environmental regulations across the country. New Jersey and other states have taken to court to challenge the Trump administration’s rollbacks and are attempting to enact state regulations to make up for those regulation cuts.

Requiring builders to take climate change impacts into account are also a part of Governor Murphy’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state, with the goal of making New Jersey a 100% green energy state by 2050.

The executive order will instruct New Jersey’s Environmental Protection Agency to draft new rules for builders to go into effect by 2022 that will require builders to receive permits from that agency after factoring in their proposed developments impact on climate change and emissions. Because the new regulations would be enacted by way of executive order, the Legislature will likely have no say over them, although the order is likely to be challenged in court.

Republicans slammed Murphy for leaving lawmakers out of the process and said it could stifle already struggling growth in the state. “If he’s going to roll out something that going to stop development in New Jersey, that calls for serious legislative hearings,” said Republican minority leader Jon Bramnick.


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