N.J. may extend deadline for new wasterwater-management plan

An Assembly committee has advanced legislation aimed at removing an obstacle to economic development in New Jersey.

Assemblyman Albert Coutinho said Thursday the bill he sponsored would allow some projects to be planned and developed while the process of updating wastewater-management plans continues.

“There are jobs that are being lost right now because this issue has not been addressed. So this bill, hopefully while extending that timeline, will allow for these projects to go forward,” Coutinho said.

Environmentalists say allowing current regulations to stay in place during the proposed two-year extension to develop the wastewater plans could allow developers to extend sewer systems into sensitive areas.

“I think we’ll see forest, open space, farmland paved over,” said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society. “It’ll threaten our drinking-water quality in communities and really just perpetuate sprawl development in the state.”

The measure is expected to come up for a vote by the full Legislature on the last day of its current session next month.

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