Tagged: Wetlands

Jordan Asch to Participate in Upcoming NJSBA Panel Discussion – “Resolving Everyday Environmental Problems” – November 5

Jordan M. Asch, an Associate in the Gibbons Environmental Department, will participate in an upcoming panel discussion presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association, in cooperation with its Environmental Law Section. The panel, “Resolving Everyday Environmental Problems,” will take place virtually on Thursday, November 5 from 9:00 – 10:30 am. The discussion will cover some of the complex, and often expensive, environmental issues that small businesses and homeowners may face, including site remediation issues, funding sources, environmental permitting, and the permitting process. Attorneys who represent small business owners that own or lease real property, or that may develop or improve real property, as well as homeowners that may face environmental remediation or permitting issues are encouraged to attend. For additional information or to register, click here.

No Need to Wait: Supreme Court Permits Judicial Review of Wetlands Jurisdictional Determinations

As we reported, four years ago, in Sackett v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a recipient of a compliance order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly illegal filling of wetlands could directly challenge the order in court, and did not have to wait until EPA filed a lawsuit to enforce the order before obtaining judicial review of its validity. In a recent opinion the Court extended the rationale of Sackett and again lowered the threshold of judicial reviewability, holding that a landowner can seek judicial review of a mere determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) that its property contains wetlands whose filling would require a permit under the Clean Water Act.

Turnpike Authority is Not a “Local Government Unit”: Tax Court

All politics, the saying goes, is local. Not so with government, according to a recent decision from New Jersey’s Tax Court. In an opinion that teaches more about legislative drafting than it does about tax policy, the court in New Jersey Turnpike Authority v. Township of Monroe parsed a complex definition of “local government unit” in the Garden State Preservation Trust Act (GSPTA). It held that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority did not come within that definition, and thus could not claim that status to obtain an exemption from roll-back taxes on a parcel it purchased in 2009.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Proposes New Rules Aimed at Streamlining Coastal Permitting Process

On June 10, 2014, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) introduced a series of proposed technical revisions to land use rules — via a 1,055 page proposal — designed to encourage redevelopment in coastal areas decimated by Hurricane Sandy. DEP Commissioner Bob Martin — who also served on Governor Christie’s Red Tape Review Commission, which was launched in 2011 to streamline regulatory processes across state government — explained that “[t]hese revisions will add clarity to our regulatory processes and provide better predictability in the regulatory process.”

EPA and Army Corps Propose to Clear the Mud Stirred Up by Rapanos

In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court created great confusion in Rapanos v. United States over what wetlands fell within the coverage of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by setting out two separate tests for jurisdiction, one in the four-justice plurality opinion led by Justice Scalia, and one in a separate concurrence by Justice Kennedy. In an attempt to resolve the confusion, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a draft rule. The rule is intended to clarify what streams and wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act.

The Price Must Be Right: U.S. Supreme Court Extends “Nexus” and “Rough Proportionality” Requirements to Monetary Exactions Linked to Development Proposals

It has long been the law that regulators may not condition the grant of a land-use permit on the owner’s relinquishment of an interest in the property unless there is both a “nexus” and “rough proportionality” between the government’s demand and the effects of the proposed land use. In a case that may have been overlooked amidst several landmark decisions handed down in the same week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these requirements also apply to monetary exactions.

May I Come In?: N.J. Supreme Court Approves Warrantless DEP Searches of Residential Property Subject to Freshwater Wetlands Permit

In a unanimous decision that was at once sweeping and limited, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) need not obtain a warrant before entering a residential parcel to ensure compliance with the terms of a wetlands permit. The Court stopped short of a blanket validation of all warrantless searches under the wetlands statute, or of all warrantless searches of residential property subject to any sort of permit, instead grounding its holding in the protections afforded by the process that DEP must follow, and limiting it to searches of properties that are subject to a wetlands permit.

NJDEP Temporarily Waives Permitting Requirements For Rebuilding Infrastructure After Sandy

On November 3, 2012, less than five days after Hurricane Sandy washed away much of the Jersey Shore and its infrastructure, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin signed Administrative Order No. 2012-13 (the “Order”), temporarily waiving permitting requirements for State, County and Municipal agencies seeking to rebuild after the storm. The swift action of NJDEP unleashed a storm of its own from critical environmentalists worried that the rush to rebuild the devastated areas would recreate the same vulnerabilities.

Unanimous Supreme Court Allows Pre-Enforcement Review of Clean Water Act Compliance Orders

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held on March 21 that an Idaho couple who had received a compliance order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly illegal filling of wetlands could directly challenge the order in court, and did not have to wait until EPA filed a lawsuit to enforce the order in court before obtaining judicial review of its validity. The opinion completely changes the rules of the game in EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Water Act, and gives landowners a powerful new tool to dispute what they see as erroneous EPA determinations.

Either/Or: Third Circuit Reads Rapanos as Establishing Two Alternative Tests for Federal Regulatory Jurisdiction Over Wetlands

The Clean Water Act regulates the placement of fill into the “waters of the United States.” That term has come to include wetlands — or at least some wetlands. The Supreme Court’s last attempt, in Rapanos v. United States, to clarify which wetlands fall within the statute’s coverage caused great confusion, as the five Justices who agreed on the judgment (a four-Justice plurality led by Justice Scalia, and Justice Kennedy, who concurred separately) generated two separate tests for jurisdiction. Which test should lower courts apply? In an opinion released on October 31, the Third Circuit said, “both” — if the wetlands in question satisfy either Justice Scalia’s test or Justice Kennedy’s test, they fall within the statute’s reach.