Home > Uncategorized > Murphy DEP Is Issuing Regulatory Approvals Of Warehouse Developments With Virtually No Public Awareness Or Media Coverage

Murphy DEP Is Issuing Regulatory Approvals Of Warehouse Developments With Virtually No Public Awareness Or Media Coverage

Gov. Kean Dictated and Signed A Toothless State Planning Act

Gov. Florio Issued Executive Order To Fix That Failure By Directing DEP To Integrate State Plan In DEP Regulatory Programs

Gov. Murphy DEP Does Nothing But Issue Regulatory Approvals

I get tired of correcting the errors and omissions of NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle, particularly on the warehouse sprawl issues.

Today, Hurdle made another huge error in the close of his “warehouse sprawl year in review” story with this:

“Now that the [DEP] Inland Flood Rule and the warehouse siting guidance are approved, West Windsor can reconsider its mammoth error in judgement and do what’s best for the entire region.” 

The “Inland Flood Rule” (sic) was not “approved”. It was proposed on December 5, 2022 and won’t be adopted for several months. But even if it were adopted, it would not apply to the West Windsor project. Meanwhile, DEP continues to issue land use and water permits in the absence of this rule, thus putting more people and property at risk of flooding.

So, Hurdle misleads readers and gives them false hope by printing that error, all while creating the false impression that DEP is doing the right thing, instead of reporting the FACTS about how many warehouse developments DEP has approved.

And Hurdle again ignored mentioning any DEP regulatory role in the approval of warehouses, which must be intentional, because I’ve sent him several detailed emails informing him of DEP’s prior and pending regulatory approvals, most recently as last Wednesday, a time when he had to still be researching or writing today’s story.

I told him to LOOK at this DEP public notice, the latest 442 acre sprawling warehouse:

December 19, 2022

Proposed Amendment to the Lower Delaware Water Quality Management Plan

In accordance with the Water Quality Management Planning rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15, a public notice for a Proposed Amendment to the Lower Delaware Water Quality Management (WQM) Plan will be published on 12/19/2022, in the New Jersey Register. The proposed amendment, identified as “Northpoint Pilesgrove Warehouse” (Program Interest No. 435441, Activity No. AMD210003) would create a new discharge to groundwater (DGW) sewer service area (SSA) of 442.28 acres to serve a proposed industrial development consisting of five (5) warehouse buildings and an onsite subsurface sewage disposal system located on Block 45, Lots 1 & 7, in Pilesgrove Township, Salem County. The project will generate a projected wastewater flow of 75,000 gallons per day (gpd) based on flow calculated in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:9A-7.4.

How can a reporter ignore that?

The pattern of failure to even mention DEP approvals, while at the same time printing fact errors that lead readers to falsely believe DEP regulations are in place can not be an accident.

But why would Hurdle and Spotlight editors do that?

Spotlight mischaracterized local “home rule” numerous times (until I forced correction of those errors) and consistently highlights the fact that the State Plan lacks regulatory authority. They did so again in today’s story:

No authority to impose recommendations 

But the commission stressed it had no authority to impose its recommendations on local government, which staunchly defends a long tradition of home rule, and so it said the guidelines on warehouse siting, design, traffic impacts or community relations were purely advisory.

Why would they fail to mention that they themselves broke a huge story, quoting former Kean aide and State Planning Commissioner James Gilbert about how Gov. Kean directed State planners to draft the State Planning Act to assure that the State Plan was toothless and provided no regulatory authority? See:

And that Gov. Florio sought to address that failure by issuing Executive Order #114  that directed DEP to integrate the State Plan in DEP regulatory programs? See:

So, Spotlight is missing the warehouse and larger land use story in many ways – and that gives Governor Murphy and the Murphy DEP a huge pass.

And it fails to empower citizens to organize and pressure DEP to deny approvals.

That is, at best, journalistic negligence.

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