The following include May 2017 highlights of local/state news-worthy environmental concerns, as well as national headlines to watch:
New Jersey Water Supply Plan Update: After a 20 year wait, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released a 2017-2022 Water Supply Master Plan Update. Specific to the Lower Raritan Watershed and our “Central Drought Region” are proposed Capital Improvement Projects including a North/South Branch Confluence pumping station, the Kingston Quarry Reservoir, water transfers from central to coastal North Drought Regions and the Six Mile Run Reservoir (pages 74-77).
New Jersey Freshwater Wetland Protection Act (FWPA) Rules Amendments: The NJDEP is proposing comprehensive amendments to NJ’s FWPA. These amendments propose significant revisions particularly to mitigation rules, and also to transition area (freshwater wetland buffer) impacts. Of note is that the proposed revisions increase the degree to which transition areas can be impacted by development. Written comments will be accepted until June 30th.
Rollbacks on Obama-era climate rules: Last week the Federal Highway Administration announced that it will delay the effective date of Green House Gas emissions analysis and air quality studies on US Interstate roadways.
Rollbacks on Pesticides: The Hill reports that House passed legislation last week to loosen federal regulations on pesticides. The “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017” would reverse a 2009 court decision that requires that anyone applying pesticides secure a general permit under the Clean Water Act, opening the door to increased pesticide impacts on our waters.