New Jersey Files Six Lawsuits as Part of Its Environmental Justice Initiative

Last week, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced jointly the state’s filing of six environmental enforcement actions against alleged polluters in minority and low-income communities in various locations throughout the state. The filings are this administration’s latest action in its environmental justice initiative, as Gibbons has previously covered on this blog.

The six lawsuits involve sites in Newark, East Orange, Camden, and two sites in Trenton. In these suits, the state brings claims under various New Jersey environmental statutes, including the Spill Compensation and Control Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, the Air Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Industrial Site Recovery Act, and the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act.

Per the joint press release, the lawsuits in Newark and Trenton “involve companies that released hazardous substances at their properties and refused to clean them up.” In Newark, the state seeks to require the defendants to investigate the extent of the contamination, to clean up the site, and to reimburse the state for over $500,000. For one of the Trenton sites, the state similarly seeks to compel the defendants to clean up the site and to reimburse the state for over $400,000. At the other Trenton site, the state seeks to enforce an administrative order to remediate the property and to pay an administrative penalty of over $100,000.

Per the fact sheet that accompanied the press release, at the Camden site, the state seeks to require the removal and proper disposal of solid waste at the property and additional penalties. At the Kearny site, DEP has issued multiple orders since 2002 requiring the defendant comply with the Water Pollution Control Act and the terms of its Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit, plus additional penalties. Finally, at the East Orange site, the state seeks to enforce an administrative order for the removal of four underground storage tanks at the site by a remediation professional and additional civil penalties.

Gibbons will continue to follow these cases, and other efforts that Governor Murphy’s administration undertakes as part of its environmental justice initiative.

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