N.J. Sierra Club says trio of new laws will bypass public process, harm environment

The N.J. Sierra Club is criticizing three bills that Gov. Christie signed which the organization claims will be harmful to the environment.

The bills drawing the Sierra Club’s ire are S6/A2853, which is designed to streamline the business-permit process,  S2014, which allows substantial changes to agency rule-making, and S2013, which extends from five to seven years the expiration date for certain rules.

“The worst of these bills, S6, Son of Fast Track, eliminates public comments and oversight, and gives the Lieutenant Governor the power to push out permits for developers, and weaken environmental rules and protections,” N.J. Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a release Monday.

“This is a law that was written by  right wing-think tanks and is a Tea Party bill that has no place in a state like New Jersey,” he said.

Regarding S2014, the Sierra Club stated that public process is undercut because the bill permits changes to a rule upon adoption and after a public comment period is over.

“This would be like Dick Cheney rewriting the energy policies behind closed doors with BP and Halliburton,” Tittel said.

And regarding S2013, Tittel stated: “The reason that rules are on a five-year cycle is because permits are on a 5-year cycle as well.  Changes in permits coincide with changes in rules.  This will no longer happen.”

The administration enacted these kind of rules to streamline business procedures and cut red tape.

But, Tittel said, “This type of legislation is very wonky and hard for people to follow.  These three bills as a package will undo decades of environmental and health protections by setting up processes that favor special interests and polluters over the people of New Jersey.” N.J. Sierra Club says trio of new laws will bypass public process, harm environment