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Governor Murphy Releases 2019 Energy Master Plan – New DEP Rules Will Require Builders to Consider Climate Change

Today, New Jersey announced the release of the final 2019 Energy Master Plan (“EMP”), which includes sweeping policy goals aimed at fighting climate change that are likely to have significant impacts on New Jersey’s building industry. Alongside the EMP, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 100 (2020) (“E.O. 100”) directing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to develop new regulations to be implemented by 2022 which will require builders to take a number of climate-related issues into account while designing and building new construction in New Jersey. Pursuant to E.O. 100, NJDEP is to draft and propose regulations to “integrate climate change considerations, such as sea level rise, into its regulatory and permitting programs, including…land use permitting.” E.O. 100 also directs the Commissioner of NJDEP to identify which regulations the Department will update, but does not include specifics as to how those regulations will be updated.

By contrast, the EMP includes specific proposals and dedicates an entire section to the building industry. Building-related goals within the EMP include:

  • Shifting to fully electrified building sector, which would require discontinuing use of natural gas fired machinery and appliances in favor of heat pumps, solar arrays, energy storage, and “smart” building management systems in new construction, requiring dramatic changes to building codes and increasing costs;

  • State partnership with private industry to establish so-called “electrified building demonstration projects;” and

  • Study and development of new construction codes that “support net zero carbon new construction.”

The final EMP and E.O. 100 follow a draft EMP issued in June 2019 after nearly a year of meetings, hearings, and other proceedings before several state agencies as directed by Governor Murphy in Executive Order 28 (2018). The goals of the EMP are largely driven by Governor Murphy’s stated goal of getting New Jersey to 100% renewable energy by the year 2050, as well as the goals set forth in New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act, specifically to reduce emissions by 80% of 2006 levels by 2050. While the regulations envisioned by the EMP and E.O. 100 are not yet in effect, they will drive rulemaking by NJDEP and others with the goal of implementing the EMP’s proposals over the next few years.

GHC’s Energy, Climate Change and Public Utilities team has been on the front lines of the EMP process and will be forming a comprehensive response in order to continue to advocate on behalf of our building industry clients. The attorneys at GHC have wide-ranging experience in both the public and private sectors in energy, environmental, real estate, and land use matters that will be affected by the recommendations of the EMP. Due to its depth of experience, GHC is uniquely positioned to guide businesses through the issues implicated by the proposed regulations and help clients meet their goals.

The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information set forth above is for general informational purposes only.

© 2020 Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. All Rights Reserved National Law Review, Volume X, Number 27


About this Author

Michael J. Gross, Giordano Law Firm, Environmental Attorney
Shareholder/Managing Partner

Mike, chair of the Environmental Law Practice Area, handles all aspects of New Jersey and federal environmental law, including permitting and litigation, CAFRA, sewage disposal and water supply, wetlands, riparian (tidelands) law, solid waste, flood hazard areas, siting of energy and other industrial facilities, site remediation, Pinelands, Highlands, cultural resources, stormwater, wastewater planning, water and air pollution. He also appears before planning and zoning boards and has handled complex construction litigation matters.

Mike is...

Paul H. Schneider, Giordano Law Firm, Litigation Attorney

Paul, Chair of the Environmental & Land Use Litigation Practice Area, focuses his practice in environmental, redevelopment, land use, regulatory, real estate and affordable housing law, and litigation. He also handles a wide variety of redevelopment matters as well as corporate and commercial litigation. In addition to handling major litigation before both the state and federal courts and the Office of Administrative Law, he has extensive experience before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.

Paul represents real estate developers and other businesses in all types of environmental and land use matters, including permitting and compliance in the areas of water, wetlands, waste, and air; brownfields redevelopment; site remediation; and transactional. He also represents landowners in cost recovery actions, as well as in enforcement actions brought by government or environmental groups.

Steven M. Dalton, Giordano Law Firm, Attorney, Environmental - Land Use, Environmental - Site Remediation, Land Use & Development Law ,Cannabis Law, Real Estate, Renewable Energy, Environmental Law, Land Use Law, Litigation

Steve's primary practice is in Environmental Law. He is able to utilize his background in environmental sciences to anticipate, understand and address the issues that his clients confront. Steve assists business and individual clients in state and federal environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, solid and hazardous waste remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, underground storage tank compliance, water and sewer rights and approvals, Tideland rights and approvals, and municipal land use matters.  Steve also assists clients with environmental aspects of real estate...

Marc D. Policastro Shareholder Giordano Law Firm, Business Attorney

Marc, Chair of the Environmental Department, is a transactional, business attorney, who focuses his practice in development, redevelopment, environmental compliance cases, corporate transactional matters, land use, zoning and business counseling. Admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York, he has represented numerous national developers, manufacturers, cogeneration facilities and utilities, automobile dealerships, lenders, borrowers and municipal boards in myriad land use contexts, including commercial and residential development and due diligence matters. He also focuses on complex...

David J. Miller Shareholder environmental regulatory, real estate and corporate transactional matters attorney

Dave is an environmental attorney with experience in the private and public sectors who focuses his practice on environmental regulatory, real estate and corporate transactional matters. He counsels clients on site remediation, the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA), Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), due diligence, participation in potentially responsible party groups and interaction with the Environmental Protection Agency on Superfund matters.  Dave also advises on the procurement of environmental permits...