Lawmakers move to bar changes to NJ flood-prevention rules

 New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak is one of two state lawmakers leading opposition to changes in the state's flood-control regulations. (NewsWorks file photo)

New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak is one of two state lawmakers leading opposition to changes in the state's flood-control regulations. (NewsWorks file photo)

Two New Jersey lawmakers want to block the Christie administration from making changes in the state’s Flood Hazard Control Act.

 

Sens. Ray Lesniak and Bob Smith have introduced a measure to reverse the proposed rules.

The changes would endanger streams that are used for drinking water, according to Smith.

“There’s a 300-foot buffer within which you should not have development, and the truth of the matter is that our water supply is at risk,” said Smith, D-Middlesex. “If we don’t provide those kinds of protections in terms of quality and quantity, we’re going to see the things that are happening out West happening here in New Jersey.”

The proposed rules would also increase the risk of flooding, said Smith and Lesniak, D-Union.

“New Jersey is experiencing increasingly intense and frequent storms, and instead of moving us in a direction that would better protect our citizens and environment, these rules are taking us backwards,”  said Jen Coffey of the New Jersey Association of Environmental Commissions, one of several groups opposed to changing the current regulations.

FEMA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have also voiced objections to the proposed new rules.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which supports the changes, has said the modifications would make the permit process more efficient so it would be easier to build important projects.

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