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PRESS RELEASE: NJDEP’s Proposed Revisions to Highlands Rules Get it Right

21 Apr 2016, Posted by admin in News, Science and Environmental Issues, State News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Ed Wengryn -or- Helen Heinrich; 908-568-4939 or 609-393-7163

NJDEP’s Proposed Revisions to Highlands Rules Get it Right

(TRENTON) — New Jersey Farm Bureau (NJFB), the state’s largest organization of farmers and landowners, is pleased to see the positive changes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is proposing in Septic Density rules for the Highlands.

“One of the most positive changes we see is the reduction in lot sizes and the alignment of the Highland septic density rules with the Highlands regional master plan”, said Ryck Suydam, president of New Jersey Farm Bureau. “The old septic density model was based on arbitrary science and the simple land use classifications of forested or non-forested lands. The new rule is based on sound, peer-reviewed science and links septic density with the Highlands region’s three land use capability planning zones…protection, conservation and existing community. These changes also help protect landowner equity in the region, which is crucial to the welfare of the agricultural industry,” he added.

Farm Bureau is also supportive of the use of greater data sets in establishing background nitrate levels for the three capability planning zones.

“New Jersey Farm Bureau first challenged NJDEP in 2005 when it proposed emergency rules for water quality in the Highlands. One of the complaints was the limited use of data to establish background water quality standards. This rule proposal reflects the use of greater data,” said Suydam.

Through the development of the Highlands Regional Master Plan and the corresponding NJDEP rules, New Jersey Farm Bureau supported the use of sound science to ensure that the rules reflect the real world conditions in the Highlands region and permit the council and its constituent municipalities to take advantage of planning tools that balance growth with natural resource protection. This new rule proposal does just that.

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