Search Site
Menu
New Jersey’s new Environmental Justice Law seeks to hold emitters accountable and protect overburdened communities

New Jersey lawmakers made history in 2020 by passing novel environmental justice legislation. Known as “New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law,” the statute seeks to protect communities who have disproportionately borne the burdens of environmental and public health risks due to exposure to pollution emissions and other environmental contaminants. N.J.S.A. § 13:1D-157 et seq. The Law defines “overburdened communities” as communities “in which: (1) at least 35 percent of the households qualify as low-income households; (2) at least 40 percent of the residents identify as minority or as members of a State recognized tribal community; or (3) at least 40 percent of the households have limited English proficiency.”

The Environmental Justice Law provides that any entity seeking to create or expand a facility located in close proximity to an overburdened community will have more stringent standards and application processes to conform with. Some of the facilities regulated include landfills, recycling facilities, solid waste facilities, medical waste facilities, and sewage treatment plants. Additions to the application process include submitting an Environmental Justice Impact Statement and a requirement to hold a public hearing within the overburdened community. N.J.S.A. § 13:1D-160. A notable heightened standard is the required consideration of the cumulative effects of the application “together with other environmental or public health stressors affecting the overburdened community” when considering an application for an addition or permit renewal for an existing facility. N.J.S.A. § 13:1D-160.4(d).

The Environmental Justice Law charges the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) with creating the rules and regulations that will implement its objectives. Shortly after Governor Murphy signed the bill into law in September 2020, the NJDEP held public comment period that just concluded mid-December. The survey provided during the comment period allowed members of the public to voice their opinions on a plethora of issues being discussed during the rulemaking process such as what should be included in an Environmental Justice Impact Statement and what public health impacts should be considered in the application process.

The full survey provided by the NJDEP can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WVPTXRG. The statute also required the NJDEP to produce a list of “overburdened communities” within 120 days of enactment, which fell on Saturday January 16, 2021. That list can be found here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/ej/communities.html. Read the full text of the new law here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/ej/docs/ej-law.pdf.

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • New report finds that significant offshore wind capacity exists along the Atlantic coast. https://t.co/EQG8d5VMw2
    3 months ago
  • The Murphy Administration plans to spend $200 million on wind port. https://t.co/Se09U5ZHvy
    4 months ago
  • NJDEP aims to simplify permitting process. https://t.co/UTm92DtrAC
    4 months ago
  • U.S. Supreme Court will hear PennEast Pipeline appeal of New Jersey eminent domain dispute. https://t.co/AqqvTw1QD2
    4 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Tenants Must Be Informed of Lead in their drinking water

Governor Murphy just signed legislation (S968/A2836) that will require landlords to notify tenants of elevated lead levels. This is particularly meaning in New Jersey where we have many people impacted
Read More
Tenants Must Be Informed of Lead in their drinking water

NJDEP new stormwater regulations are in effect

Developers in New Jersey must now meet the State’s new stormwater regulations. New Jersey has had numerous generations of stormwater regulations, some of which have had to be revised following
Read More
NJDEP new stormwater regulations are in effect

New Jersey families allege birth defects and severe illnesses due to major chemical companies’ discharges and emissions

Families in New Jersey have filed multiple lawsuits in the District Court of New Jersey alleging that their birth defects and/or illnesses are the result of chemical pollution. Four suits
Read More
New Jersey families allege birth defects and severe illnesses due to major chemical companies’ discharges and emissions

Warehouse Construction in NJ May Be Curtailed in Proposed Legislation

New Jersey State Senate subcommittees are currently considering a bill (S-3688) that aims to dramatically slow shipping and distribution warehouse construction across the State. Recently it seems that is the
Read More
Warehouse Construction in NJ May Be Curtailed in Proposed Legislation

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