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Understanding NJ Protecting Against Climate Threats

Regulations to be presented in 2023

What is NJ PACT?

To prepare New Jersey from threats by climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, more intense and frequent storm events and flooding, and increasing temperature. The effects of these impacts present real threats to the economy, environment and public health and safety of all New Jerseyans.

In 2020 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began a regulatory reform effort to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and other climate pollutant emissions while making our natural and built environments more resilient to the impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable. These reforms represent New Jersey protecting against climate threats (NJ PACT), a partnership with New Jerseyans to help both stave off the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to unavoidable impacts already occurring across the State.

 Summer 2023 NJDEP is expected to present their Phase II Regulations on Coastal Communities. The Southern Ocean Chamber and other business organizations have been following this advancement since it's initial launch. The state has drafted a 1200 page document, that will be published in the New Jersey Register. Once they are published there will be a period of public comment. There has been discussion that NJPACT recommendations include requiring the new and renovated homes to be elevated an additional five feet, state regulation of the inundation risk zone and expansion of the flood area beyond what has been defined by FEMA.  Anticipated timeline from December 2022 REAL webinar document show File Proposal 2023 - Adopt new rules Q1 2024. 


New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT) Under Governor Phil Murphy's Executive Order 100, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reforming regulations that will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while making our natural and built environments more resilient to the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. These reforms represent a PACT with the residents of New Jersey to help them adapt to the reality of climate change. It is also a PACT across generations -- with our children and grandchildren – to reduce further climate change damage so that they too may thrive and enjoy our great state. 

The first two PACT initiatives include: 1. Modernizing environmental land use rules to respond to climate change by considering risks such as sea level rise and chronic flooding, and to facilitate climate resilience by supporting green infrastructure and renewable energy and 2. Strengthening air pollution rules to help reduce future greenhouse gas emissions by improving the State's GHG reporting and inventory system and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants from certain sources.

NJ PACT is just one of many DEP climate change initiatives. In addition to the PACT rules, DEP is leading several climate change initiatives that have recently delivered the following reports: 

• Sea Level Rise Guidance for New Jersey describes how sea level rise data can be used in making development decisions.

 • Global Warming Response Act 80x50 Report describes New Jersey's emissions profile by sector and identifies choices available to lawmakers and policymakers to ensure that New Jersey reaches the GWRA mandate of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

 • Scientific Report on Climate Change summarizes data that illustrates how New Jersey experiences climate change. 

• Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy presents a roadmap for reducing the impacts of climate change through adaptive policies that improve the resilience of New Jersey's economy, communities, infrastructure, and natural resources. A living document, the Strategy responds to evolving science and provide guidance to State agencies, local government units and regional planning agencies. The strategy also includes a Coastal Resilience Plan to inform and guide the State’s priorities, policies, regulations, resource allocation, and funding in the coastal zone.

Some examples for Coastal Inundation (Flooding) Risk Zone:

 Buildings  ▪ New buildings would require a  hardship exception.   ▪ Applicant must demonstrate that there  is no other reasonable use for the site and that preventing construction of a new building would constitute an exceptional and undue hardship. ▪ New and substantially  damaged/improved residential  buildings would need to be elevated to new Climate Adjusted Flood Elevation (CAFE)+1.  ▪ Nonresidential & non-critical buildings can be flood-proofed to CAFE+1 if  elevating is impracticable.  ▪ Applicant must provide an Owner Certified Climate Risk Assessment  that acknowledges the flooding risks. ▪ Deed notice required, summarizing flooding risks (both present and  future)


For details, recorded sessions and timelines, visit the NJPACT site here