State Chamber of Commerce supports DEP’s proposed waiver rule

In advance of today’s hearing before the Department of Environmental Protection regarding its proposed waiver rule, the N.J. Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of the measure.

Although a coalition of state environmental organizations earlier this week strongly opposed the measure as being too far-reaching, the chamber praised the new proposal for the flexibility it will bring to the process.

Michael Egenton, senior vice president at the chamber, applauded the DEP’s proposal today. Essentially, the rule would allow the DEP to waive strict compliance with regulations in certain circumstances, the chamber stated.

Under the proposed rule the DEP would consider a waiver only after determining that at least one of four situations exist: When rules conflict with one another, when compliance creates unduly burdensome situations, when a waiver creates a net environmental benefit, or when a public emergency exists.

“New Jersey has a history of over-regulating those who want to grow jobs and improve the economy, which ultimately results in lost economic opportunities,” Egenton said in a release. “We now have a process and procedure in place that will provide the business community with some flexibility and predictability.”

However, environmental groups such as the N.J. Sierra Club and the Highlands Coalition believe the waiver rule will prove too far-reaching in its environmental consequences and that despite DEP’s claims of transparency, they believe there will be instances when affected members of the public will have insufficient time to respond to a waiver request.

DEP is conducting a hearing on the proposal at 3 p.m. today at its headquarters in Trenton. 

State Chamber of Commerce supports DEP’s proposed waiver rule