NJ DEP Releases NJ Land Leasing Process for State Land

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created a special panel to overhaul the state’s method of leasing property to private companies that run electric lines, cables, pipelines, and towers across state-owned land and water.

The new panel is charged with the responsibility of examining how lease agreements are currently structured and created.  Based upon its findings the panel will develop and recommend a new leasing formula designed to treat all companies that do business with the state fairly and equally.  The panel’s recommendations are expected later this year and will be presented to Governor Christie.

In previous years, leases were not crafted with a consistent and logical approach and the state apparently did not keep accurate records of all the lease transactions.  DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said “…an improved process would be fairer for businesses that seek to use state lands, allowing them to better predict and understand costs associated with leasing those lands…If we want companies to do business in New Jersey, we must have a system that is clear and easily understood.”  The Commissioner went on to say that businesses should be able to clearly understand the state’s mitigation rules, formula and know how much money it will cost them.”

The DEP owns 800,000 acres of land  accessed or used by public companies and in many cases operating on outdated and sometimes expired agreements.  As part of the panel’s review it will do a thorough inventory and cataloguing of DEP land agreements.  The goal is to “establish a framework for a system that is right for the taxpayers and the environment, while also being fair to businesses.”

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