A proposed million plus square feet warehouse with daily traffic from 300 employees and numerous tractor trailers, located on the Tobias Farm, across from the Musconetcong River would negatively impact Bloomsbury and Franklin Township with increased traffic, increased emissions, toxic runoff into the river, and the industrialization of farmland.
After 3 years of litigation, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) reversed a prior decision that EELC and Skylands Preservation Alliance challenged in the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. DEP finally acknowledged the existence of a jurisdictional stream (or intermittent tributary) that runs down the middle of a farm field, draining over 160 acres of land on its way into the Musconetcong River. Some key factors in the DEP’s reversal of itself was its adoption of EELC’s legal arguments that the ongoing agriculture on the site made visual identification of the stream difficult. In addition, karst geography presented issues for visibility of the water flow. Finally, the timing of site visits could be a crucial determinative factor in identifying an intermittent stream which dries up for portions of the year. Below is the decision for some further details.