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Public Hearing On Making Red Tape Cutting Measures Permanent

Flickr User Gone_Walkabout

After Superstorm Sandy, Governor Christie enacted a series of measures to cut red tape to obtain numerous state permits for rebuilding projects, the state is trying to make the changes permanent.

However many environmental groups aren’t happy with the idea. During a public comment session in Long Branch hosted by the DEP, Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel worried by removing oversight measure it could adversely affect the environment and residents.

“It could actually undermine the ability of people to rebuild or get reimbursed from FEMA.”

However Ray Cantor, DEP chief advisor to Commissioner Bob Martin, says the permanent streamline would only make it easier for people to do the things necessary to rebuild. Noting everything still complies with FEMA’s guidelines.

“If you otherwise meet FEMA requirements, there’s no inconsistency’s to be FEMA ineligible.”

Cantor points out the DEP has “surgically carved” out requirements have no environmental impact.

“If you want to do something to harm the environment then you have to come to us for a different kind of permit.” Says Cantor.

While it was mostly opposition from environmental groups during the public comment session, Mellisa Danko, Executive Director of the Marine Trade Association of New Jersey, spoke in favor of the measures.

“In years past or even current rules and regulations make it extremely costly or burdensome for facilities to do something simple like a reconfiguration or maintenance project at their marinas.”

Cantor says the proposed permanent measure is still awaiting approval, however the emergency streamline enacted by the governor is still active. Cantor says they hope to have them run seamless from one to the other.

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