Note, February 27, 2020: The NJDEP has made available licensing registration forms referenced in our original blog post that must be submitted by any entity engaged in “soil and fill recycling services” by April 20, 2020.  NJDEP also issued  a guidance document and FAQs.  These documents can be found here.  

On January 21, 2020,

Last month, the NJDEP announced $13.5 million in funding available for local projects to improve water quality and to prevent harmful algal blooms (“HABs”).  HABs affected numerous fresh water bodies in New Jersey last summer, most notably, Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake.  The funding includes $3.5 million in grants for which NJDEP has issued requests

On December 12, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) held the first meeting of the Interagency Council on Climate Change, a panel created by Executive Order 89 issued by Governor Murphy.  At that meeting, NJDEP released a study prepared by Rutgers University and leading climate change experts which found that New Jersey

In November, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a granting of summary judgment by the District Court for the District of New Jersey. The Court of Appeals determined that the current property owner’s claim for contribution pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was untimely because the statute of limitations for contribution claims begins to accrue when the party seeking contribution administratively settles its liability. That decision, Cranbury Brick Yard, LLC v. United States of America, fills one of the statutory gaps that exists in CERCLA.

The site in the case was a weapons manufacturing facility in Cranbury, New Jersey. During World War II and the Korean War, Unexcelled Manufacturing Co. manufactured bombs, anti-aircraft ammunition, grenade fuses, and other high-powered weapons for the U.S. Military. Following an investigation of the site by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), a directive identified several responsible parties, including the former owner of the site and the U.S. Navy.
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Once again, a recent Appellate Division Panel opinion has environmental lawyers and their clients realizing that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) may collect penalties in the state’s municipal courts.  This time, the case concerned penalties assessed by DEP for failure to follow state site remediation requirements imposed by the Site Remediation and

Recent news regarding elevated levels of a commonly used chemical in drinking water may have potentially greater implications for almost all public water supply systems.  PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which have been identified as carcinogens, have been reported in 570 water systems, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of water utility data

On October 29, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 89 which creates a Climate and Flood Resilience Program within the Department of Environmental Protection. A Chief Resilience Officer will lead the program and develop, within 180 days, a scientific report that addresses the anticipated environmental effects of climate change on New Jersey

In August, the New Jersey Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of vacating an arbitration decision that denied payment from New Jersey’s Spill Fund for damage allegedly caused by oil spills during Superstorm Sandy. That decision, US Masters Residential Property (USA) Fund v. NJDEP, highlights the critical importance of clearly communicating expert testimony to the tribunal.
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On August 23 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law A5293, which amends the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA). The amendments are wide ranging and include exemptions from direct oversight, authorization to use surety bonds as remediation funding sources, and a requirement that the person responsible for conducting the remediation respond to public inquiries regarding the status of a remediation.
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In a recent unpublished decision, In the Matter of Spill Fund Lien, DJ No. 129570-02, the Appellate Division held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), through the Spill Fund Administrator (the “Administrator”), could file a Spill Act lien against the property of a person in any way responsible for a discharged hazardous substance (“person in any way responsible”). The court also found that NJDEP’s “lien contest” guidance, the procedure for challenging Spill Act liens, satisfied procedural due process requirements. This decision removes a potential ground for challenging Spill Act liens, expands the universe of persons against whom a Spill Act lien can be filed, and may even expand the universe of persons against whom NJDEP can level treble damages claims.
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