The state Department of Environmental Protection came out with a new proposal this week to overhaul a program used to help local governments decide where to allow new sewer connections. Critics say the proposal could open up environmentally sensitive areas, including parts of the Highlands, to development. Today, the Senate is considering a resolution that would stop a DEP proposal to streamline water regulations, which some environmentalists and others say, rolls back some key safeguards in protecting water quality.
Those proposals are just the latest efforts in what the department and the Christie administration say will streamline and simplify the regulatory process. But critics suggest it reflects a concerted effort to relax some of the nation’s toughest environmental laws in its most densely populated state.