TRENTON, NJ—A bill that would extend construction permits originally issued in the 1990s was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.
The proposal called the Permit Extension Act would extend permits by two years until 2016. The first three versions of the act were passed in 2008, 2010 and 2012, according to the Star-Ledger.
Business leaders praise the bill as a means to help revive the state’s economy. Environmental groups however charge that the bill will allow developers to sidestep environmental laws.
“Extending permits for two years helps our economy by creating jobs,” says Assemblyman David Rible of Monmouth and Ocean. “The process of obtaining permits is time-consuming and costly which deters economic growth.”
David Pringle, of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, says of the bill, “Why are we going to bother to have permits if they’re going to be continually extended?” Pringle and others also complain that the bill’s “Dracula clause” of extending permits from projects from decades ago, could possibly lead to development in environmentally sensitive and flood-prone areas. “It bypasses 20 years of modern scientific safeguards,” he says. See story in the Star-Ledger.