Author: William S. Hatfield

Environmental Reporting Deadlines During the Coronavirus Crisis

Manufacturing entities in New Jersey are subject to a myriad of environmental reporting obligations, with associated regulatory deadlines and penalties for compliance failures. In addition, New Jersey businesses face remediation deadlines, sampling requirements, maintenance of environmental controls, and the ramifications of missed deadlines and malfunctioning systems. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, compliance can be complicated by illness of key personnel or contractors, closed or inaccessible facilities, and malfunctioning communications systems. Gibbons has been and will continue to be in contact with key officials at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to provide input and guidance on the Department’s response and convey the issues that impact our clients and the regulated community as a whole. We understand that NJDEP is currently working on a potential Administrative Order to address reporting and monitoring deadlines and is also considering a compliance advisory or Frequently Asked Questions-type document to address many of these concerns. On March 2, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 102 establishing the Coronavirus Task Force, chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Health (DOH). The following day, the governor signed Executive Order 103, declaring a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency. Executive Order 103 authorizes and empowers the executive head of any agency to promulgate rules to waive, suspend,...

District of New Jersey Decision Highlights Procedural and Evidentiary Complexities Unique to the State’s Environmental Litigants

In Leese v. Lockheed Martin Corp., one of the New Jersey’s foremost environmental jurists, the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, authored a comprehensive opinion explaining why several plaintiffs who alleged harm caused by contamination on their properties were without recourse under a number of state and federal environmental laws. In so doing, the Chief Judge highlighted the procedural and evidentiary complexities unique to environmental litigants.

NJ Supreme Court Clarifies Nexus Standard Under Spill Act

In NJDEP v. Dimant, et al., the Department filed suit under New Jersey’s Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”), alleging that the defendant, Sue’s Clothes Hanger, Inc. (“Sue’s”), a dry cleaning business, was responsible for damages related to groundwater contamination on various properties in Bound Brook. The sole evidence supporting DEP’s claim for damages against Sue’s rested on a pipe that was found dripping perchloroethylene (PCE) onto a driveway in the late 1980s. The trial court judge ruled that the DEP had not sufficiently proved a nexus between the PCE dripping from Sue’s pipe in the 1980s and the groundwater contamination at issue. The plaintiffs appealed.