In the decades since its adoption in the 1970s, the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”), N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq., has not been understood to impose liability on the sellers of chemicals that a purchaser later discharged into the environment. However, in a pair of recent decisions, New Jersey federal judges entertained the novel theory that the manufacturer and seller of a chemical could be strictly liable for a discharge to the environment under the Spill Act, even if the manufacturer merely sold the chemical to a third party that actually caused the contamination.
In January 2020, New Jersey’s “Dirty Dirt” legislation was signed into law. The law requires businesses engaged in soil and fill recycling to register with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) and apply for an A-901 license.
New Jersey has been successful in supporting the development of solar energy facilities through incentive programs, but solar projects within New Jersey’s Transition Incentive Program are having difficulties completing construction within the timeline required to remain eligible for these incentives.
What happens when a property owner refuses to consent to a deed notice to address historic fill on its property?
Engineering and institutional controls, often a cap and deed notice, can greatly reduce the cost of environmental remediation. Where appropriate, engineering and institutional controls can allow remediating parties to avoid costly excavation or treatment of contaminated soil, instead allowing these materials to remain underneath improvements such as parking lots, building foundations, or landscaped areas
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) announced that the new Brownfields Impact Fund opened for applications on January 20, 2022. This pilot program provides grant funding and low-interest loans to non-profit and public sector organizations, as well as low-interest loans to for-profit organizations to execute cleanup activities of underused, contaminated properties known as “brownfield sites” throughout the state. Specifically, the Brownfields Impact Fund dedicates $800,000 to address funding gaps to make the remediation phase of brownfield remediation projects financially viable. Yet, given the limited amount of funds available, those interested in obtaining funds should act quickly to take advantage of the new program.
During the first term of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, his administration announced ambitious plans both to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change and to change land use rules to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.
In 2020, the Trump Administration restricted the environmental review process for major federal actions required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to essentially consider only the goals of the applicant; this was the first time a substantial change had been made to this process in over 20 years. To reverse this reduction in environmental protection, on October 7, 2021, the Council on Environmental Quality published a rule proposal requiring that reviews under NEPA include a broad range of environmental concerns, including climate change and environmental justice, priorities of the Biden administration.
The Appellate Division’s unpublished decision in Meyer v. Constantinou, decided earlier this year, affirmed the exclusion of the testimony of an environmental expert as a “net opinion” for disregarding key facts and data without appropriate reasoning and justification.
New Jersey is no longer waiting to implement environmental justice requirements following surprise action by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Since September 2020, the Garden State has been waiting for the Department to complete the gargantuan task of implementing the first of its kind Environmental Justice Law. The New Jersey law authorizes the Department to deny or condition certain permits for facilities that would have a disproportionate impact on an overburdened community. However, the substantive provisions of the law do not go into effect until the Department adopts regulations to implement the Environmental Justice Law.
While entrepreneurs and investors rush to set up cannabis businesses throughout the Garden State, how will New Jersey regulate the environmental impacts of the industry?