Search Site
Menu

New Jersey Voters to Decide Important State Constitutional Amendment concerning the Environment

On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, New Jersey voters will be asked to decide on a state constitutional amendment regarding the use of natural resource damages collected by the State in environmental contamination cases. New Jersey has the authority to collect damages for restoration of natural resources under the New Jersey Water Pollution Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10A-10, and the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11g. However, not all funds from environmental cases are currently used for natural resource restoration. Public Question #2 of this year’s ballot will read:

Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all moneys collected by the State relating to natural resource damages in cases of contamination of the environment? The moneys would have to be used to repair, restore, replace, or preserve the State’s natural resources. The moneys may also be used to pay legal or other costs incurred by the State in pursuing its claims.

The measure passed both houses of the legislature by a three-fifths majority: a 28-8 vote in the State Senate and a 56-18-3 vote in the Assembly. It was created in the wake of two major environmental settlements in the New Jersey. In the Passaic River contamination litigation, the State settled for over $350 million against myriad responsible entities, including a $190 million settlement with Occidental Chemical Corp. in 2014. That Occidental settlement called for only $50 million to fund natural resource restoration projects in and around the Newark Bay Complex.

In the more recent Exxon contamination litigation, the State reached a $225 million settlement with Exxon for damage to wetlands, marshes and waterways surrounding two refineries in North Jersey. State budget plans indicate that only $50 million of that settlement is dedicated to restoration projects. Both settlements were controversial, with critics objecting to settlement numbers lower than the valued damage (Exxon’s natural resource damages were originally valued by the State at $8.9 billion) and substantial settlement monies being diverted to the State’s general fund. It appears that the latter practice of diversion will end if New Jersey voters agree with Public Question #2 on November 7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • LBS is proud to have been a part of this outstanding resolution. https://t.co/6Zp3Rby0Rz
    2 days ago
  • New Jersey sets emergency water standards for new chemicals. https://t.co/trgaaLL1mD
    1 year ago
  • How will New Jersey manage stormwater as the climate changes and flooding increases? https://t.co/dhVLALyzZ2
    1 year ago
  • Unprecedented storms are slamming NJ – learn how to be the best advocate for your clients when the next flood hits.… https://t.co/TicH6iAjP0
    1 year ago

Recent Blog Posts

When A First Right of Refusal Is Too Late

On December 22, 2022, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division decided the case Saadia Square LLC v. SM Logistics Member LLC et. al. This case arises out of a
Read More
When A First Right of Refusal Is Too Late

Indemnification Provision Entitles Former Condominium Association Trustee to Recover Certain Fees and Costs for First-Party Claim

Last week, New Jersey’s Appellate Division found that a former trustee of a condominium association’s board was entitled to recover certain fees and costs pursuant to the association’s indemnification provision. In
Read More
Indemnification Provision Entitles Former Condominium Association Trustee to Recover Certain Fees and Costs for First-Party Claim

Court Affirms DEP Direct Oversight of Remediation Efforts of PFAS Polluting Plant

  This week, in In re Dep't of Envtl. Prot. Direct Oversight Determination, No. A-0635-20, 2023 WL-125229 (App. Div. Jan. 9, 2023), New Jersey’s Appellate Division affirmed a Department of Environmental
Read More
Court Affirms DEP Direct Oversight of Remediation Efforts of PFAS Polluting Plant

What to do if a certificate of occupancy has been incorrectly issued?

Town rescinds certificate of occupancy for former motel On January 5, 2023, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case Department of Community Affairs, etc v. Kenneth D. Roberts, etc. In this case, Defendant
Read More
What to do if a certificate of occupancy has been incorrectly issued?

In The Media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form