CSG Law Alert: Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 89 Directs Agencies to Begin Planning for Climate Change Impact

On October 29, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 89 which creates a Climate and Flood Resilience Program within the Department of Environmental Protection. A Chief Resilience Officer will lead the program and develop, within 180 days, a scientific report that addresses the anticipated environmental effects of climate change on New Jersey through at least 2050. The report will address the impact of increased temperatures, sea level rise, increased rainfall, storms and flooding, forest fires, and droughts.

The order also creates an Interagency Council on Climate Resilience, which will include 16 agency representatives who will assist the Chief Resilience Officer in developing a Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy by September 1, 2020. That strategy will include a Coastal Resilience Plan that recommends a “long-term strategy for climate change resilience and adaptation in the coastal areas of the State.” The Order sets forth various elements of the Coastal Resilience Plan, which include summaries of investments made, recommendations for further investments, and recommendations for financing for future adaptation.

At the local level, the order directs the State Planning Commission to adopt regulations as necessary to incorporate climate change considerations as a mandatory requirement for State endorsement of local government development and redevelopment plans. Plan endorsement is a voluntary program incentivized with state benefits. Currently 25 local governments have endorsed plans and another 37 have completed endorsement applications pending that presumably do not address climate change.

The Executive Order is available here.

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