An environmental group is asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to block new flood-hazard control rules proposed by the Christie administration.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommended the new rules to reduce regulatory burdens.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said the changes violate the Clean Water Act and will generate more flooding and pollution.
“In a state that’s been devastated by 22 major floods since Gov. Christie has been governor, where we have seen New Jersey become second in the nation in FEMA claims, to actually weaken protections against flooding is unconscionable,” Tittel said.
The changes would undo years of progress in establishing buffers to protect streams from pollution, said Mike Pisauro with the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association.
“Because now you can build a house. You can add a 2,000-square-foot addition into the buffers. You can add a 4,000-square-foot garage into the buffers if you would like,” Pisauro said. “So those buffers are no longer intact.”