The Chinese philosopher Confucius is said to have noted that those who do not plan long ahead may one day find trouble at their doors. This aphorism lies at the heart of the potentially forthcoming—but not yet made public—New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP or “Department”) Protecting Against Climate Threats (“NJ PACT”) regulations. These regulations have the potential to significantly impact how and where property in New Jersey can be developed.
In 2020, the NJDEP launched NJ PACT, a regulatory reform effort to avoid, mitigate, and adapt the state to the effects of climate change. In addition to monitoring and aggressively reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other climate pollutants, NJ PACT notably includes modifying land use regulations to incorporate climate change considerations. At its base level, climate change is a real estate issue, and so land use measures to adapt to climate change are proposed to be addressed by the NJDEP in a section of the proposed rules called Resilient Environments and Landscape (REAL).