Stakeholder outreach is an important part of rulemakings. We seek input from Department staff, the regulated community, State and local governments, etc. to determine which aspects of the current rule work and which could use some revision. Generally, at least one informal meeting with selected stakeholders is held, and the details for each meeting are posted on the Department’s website, including the agenda and list of attendees.

 

The input obtained during this stage in the process will be essential as we travel on to Stage 2.

Stage 1: The Stakeholder Process

 

Now that we are fully supplied with feedback, it is time to write a draft rule proposal. A proposal includes the existing rule text marked with all proposed changes, a summary explaining the rationale behind each of those changes and behind the rulemaking as a whole, and Impact Statements, which may include discussions of the social, economic, environmental, jobs, agricultural industry, housing affordability, and/or smart growth development impacts of the rulemaking in addition to analyses of the regulatory flexibility and the ways in which the rulemaking meets Federal standards.

 

What happens after we complete our first draft? We arrive at the first of two review phases where we will collect more feedback on our proposal that will help us refine it. For the first review, we submit the proposal to the management of other DEP programs, the Department’s attorneys, the Commissioner of the DEP, the Attorney General’s Office, the Governor’s office, and the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review and comment, and then we make revisions as necessary.

 

After that, we are ready for publication in the bimonthly New Jersey Register, published by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, which includes rule proposals and adoptions for all State agencies. Wait – what happened to that second proposal review phase? After the rule proposal is published, the public has the opportunity to weigh in. The publication of our proposal is posted on the DEP’s Rules and Regulations webpage, emailed to the news media maintaining a press office in the Statehouse, emailed to the press throughout New Jersey, and distributed through the Department’s rulemaking listerserv (an email subscription service you may sign up for to receive notice about DEP rules). The proposal will also be sent to anyone who requested advance notice of the rulemaking. Other forms of notice, such as a newspaper announcement, may also be provided depending on the rulemaking.

 

All Land Use Management rulemakings include a 60-day comment period during which the public may submit written comments. The comment period begins the day the rule proposal is published. In addition to the comment period, the Department will often also hold a public hearing on the rulemaking open to anyone who wishes to provide oral comments.

 

These comments will play a crucial role as we trek into the last stage in the rulemaking process.

 

 

Stage 2: Proposal

 

Who can request a rule change? A rulemaking can be called for by the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, a Federal or State statute, a court order, or a petition for rulemaking.

 

Let’s imagine that we have been notified that a modification to one of our rules is needed. What do we do? Think of the rulemaking process as a journey with three stages – the stakeholder process, proposal, and adoption.

Who can request a rule change? A rulemaking can be called for by the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, a Federal or State statute, a court order, or a petition for rulemaking.

 

Let’s imagine that we have been notified that a modification to one of our rules is needed. What do we do? Think of the rulemaking process as a journey with three stages – the stakeholder process, proposal, and adoption.

The Rulemaking Process

The Rulemaking Process

Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno

 

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Equipped with the public comments, we can now write a draft adoption document. Our adoption document will contain summaries of all of the public comments submitted during the public comment period applicable to the rulemaking along with the Department’s responses to those comments. In the responses, we will note any applicable changes that the Department has decided to make to the rule as a result of the comments. It will also include a summary of any changes initiated by the Department itself. There may be some changes, however, that are so substantial that they would essentially ride roughshod over the original proposal unless they are opened for additional public comment. If substantial changes are desired, we will file a separate Notice of Substantial Change on Adoption, and these changes must circle back through the proposal and adoption stages before they can be incorporated into the rule.

 

Similar to the proposal, our adoption document must be reviewed by the management of other DEP programs, the Department’s attorneys, the Commissioner of the DEP, the Attorney General’s Office, the Governor’s office, and the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The adoption document will then be revised if needed.

 

Finally, our rule adoption can be published in the New Jersey Register! The current rule text as amended will be posted on the Department’s Rules and Regulations webpage under the Current Rules and Regulations tab, and public notice of the adoption will be provided on that same webpage. With this last step, we have reached the end of our journey through the rulemaking process.

 

 

 

 

Stage 3: Adoption

 

 

Contact OPI:

Email: OPI@dep.nj.gov  Phone: (609).633.2201  Fax: (609).292.4608

 

 

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Last Updated: January 12, 2018