Senate Environment Committee Releases Climate Change Master Plan Bill 

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

Senate Environment Committee Releases Climate Change Master Plan Bill

Today the Senate Energy and Environment released S2607 (Smith) with amendments. The bill requires land use plan element of municipal master plan to include climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment.

“We support this legislation. The bill is a good step to get towns to plan for climate impacts or reducing their risk. By including climate change and hazard vulnerability into the master plan, it will encourage towns to do better planning and municipal zoning. Towns will be able to develop ordinances with resiliency and dealing with hazardous planning. They can change the zoning and prevent development in flood prone areas or areas with high sea level rise,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

New Jersey is already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change driven by emissions from fossil fuels. The state reported $36.8 billion in repair, mitigation, and prevention costs from Hurricane Sandy alone, which was made worse by rising seas caused by warmer temperatures and melting land ice. A report by the Union of Concerned Citizens found that in New Jersey alone, over 62,000 homes worth over $26 billion are at risk by 2045. By the end of this century, this number grows to 251,000 homes worth $107 Billion at risk of tidal flooding. New Jersey also leads the nation in the number of commercial properties at risk of chronic inundation in 2045.

“The Murphy Administration need to move forward when it comes to climate change and flooding. We need to reopen the Office of Climate Change and other coastal programs. We must update our adaptation for sea level mitigation programs, our shore protection plan, fix CAFRA loopholes and have a Coastal Commission. The DEP must also update new FEMA flood maps for sea level rise, update building codes, and start to implement adaptation and hazard planning as part of their resiliency model. We also need better mapping on sea-level rise to make sure we’re building and rebuilding in the right places,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP also need to reverse many rule rollbacks under Governor Christie. This includes the Flood Hazard Rules that were rewritten, removing important protections for headwaters, increasing permit by rules, and letting a permit by certification process increase development in flood-prone areas,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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