Wednesday, April 12, 2006
River to River
Third River from Woodland St, Bloomfield. Photo by Geoff Gove from "Bloomfield's Last Wilderness"
We try not to run our river stories back to back but todays NJ Supreme court ruling could have a dramatic effect in curtailing new development projects throughout much of the state. From the Star Ledger:
Court Upholds Water Rules that Limit Growth
A state appeals court today upheld tough water protection regulations against a challenge by the New Jersey Builders Association, which claimed they illegally hamper development.
The builders argued lawmakers never empowered the state Department of Environmental Protection to establish 300-foot “no-build zones” around the state’s most pristine waterways, effectively putting an estimated 300,000 acres off limits to construction.
The three-judge appeals court disagreed, ruling the DEP has that authority under a number of laws, beginning with one passed in 1981 empowering it to “regulate storm water management.”
“The Legislature, in a variety of measures, has given the DEP a wide array of power to address water quality and pollution concerns beyond traditional floodwater control, and to promulgate rules to protect the waters of this state,” the appeals court wrote.
The ruling was a victory for environmentalists and former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who announced the tough rules during a January 2004 news conference. While he said the goal was to “protect the quality of our water supply,” he candidly admitted the regulations were also intended to combat sprawl.
“Part of it is, I don’t want a million new homes in New Jersey,” McGreevey said. He was referring to an oft-repeated estimate that a million residents will move into the Garden State over the next 20 years.
Appellate Division Judge Anthony J. Parrillo wrote the ruling and was joined by Judges Jack Lintner and John S. Holston Jr.