Trenton — Just days after the second major flood
in seven months swept through the Delaware River, the New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection promised not to enforce new stormwater management
rules designed to avoid and lessen flooding, according to documents released
today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At almost
the exact moment that Acting Governor Richard Codey ordered DEP to take steps
to minimize flooding, DEP quietly agreed to put mandatory flood reduction rules
on a slow track.

In the wake of massive flooding along the Delaware during the first week of
April, Acting Governor Codey directed DEP to examine ways to prevent and reduce
future flooding. Shortly thereafter, he sent a letter asking President Bush
to declare a major disaster for the state and release nearly $60 million in
federal aid to assist devastated riverfront communities.

Literally as the floodwaters receded from Trenton and just days after the Governor’s
State of emergency was lifted, in an April 12, 2005 letter to the League of
Municipalities, DEP Commissioner Brad Campbell acknowledged that “our
consultations with the League persuaded us to delay implementation well past
the original [March 2003] USEPA deadline.” Campbell made a commitment
that DEP “will not take any enforcement action prior to August 1, 2005”
but does not say when, if ever, the rules will be enforced.

“The left hand does not seem to know or care what the right hand is doing
in Trenton,” commented New Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, a former DEP
official, noting that this Campbell’s concession allows towns to drag
their feet and developers to skirt more protective stormwater management requirements.
“Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Brad Campbell is fiddling while Trenton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published Phase II Stormwater Rules,
as required by the Clean Water Act, on December 8, 1999. New Jersey adopted
its version of those rules on January 5, 2004. The rules mandate that all 566
NJ municipalities apply for a DEP stormwater permit by March 3, 2004, to adopt
local ordinances within one year, and to submit implementation progress reports
to DEP by May 5, 2005. DEP has not published data on compliance with the May
2005 deadline.

In addition, Campbell’s April 12 letter pledging to not enforce stormwater
regulations appears at variance with DEP’s own April 6, 2005 press release,
issued immediately after the Delaware flood, announcing more than $3.6 million
in grants to fund 11 projects designed to reduce stormwater and restore water
quality throughout New Jersey. That funding was from last year’s budget
but the current State budget zeroed out these municipal stormwater management
grant funds.

“Unfortunately, the pattern in New Jersey DEP is management by press
release,” Wolfe added. “Consistent enforcement of important environmental
laws and coherent implementation of policies take a back seat in the search
for the next headline.”


Read Brad Campbell’s April
11, 2005 letter
promising to delay stormwater enforcement

See April 6 2005 press release “Codey
Directs DEP to Examine Ways to Reduce Flooding”

Look at DEP’s April
6, 2005 press release announcing stormwater grants

Scan April
18 Codey release on formation of Flood Mitigation Taskforce

View DEP stormwater
(see MS4 permit matrix link to NJAC 7:8-4)
adoption document for stormwater management rules
, effective date 2/2/04

Compare a 2004 press release fromGov.
McGreevey touting the importance of these stormwater rules

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