In the News

Green Groups Clash with Business Over NJ Enviro Waivers


January 18, 2013

As stated in this Law360 article, "A New Jersey appellate court is set to determine the fate of a controversial measure by the state's environmental regulator to waive land use regulations and other requirements on a case-by-case basis, a move that has won praise from business groups for cutting red tape but also raised concerns over its potential to undo years of environmental protection.

The closely watched litigation is a rare example of the state's environmental community fighting, and business groups throwing their weight behind, a regulation from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The waiver rule went into effect Aug. 1 and the DEP has since received 22 applications, according to records on the agency's website. Of those, 12 are under review, two have been denied and eight were rejected as incomplete.

Two main factors likely have suppressed the number of applications so far, according to Andrew B. Robins, of counsel in the real estate practice at Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. One is hesitancy over the newness of the program and how the DEP will administer it, but the other is the legal challenge to the rule, which has left potential applicants wondering if it's worth going through the waiver process when court-directed changes could be on the horizon, he said.

'The court action succeeded in creating uncertainty and reducing the number of people who sought to take advantage of the rule, which is the environmentalists' goal ultimately,' Robins said."