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Holding Polluters Accountable in New Jersey

The acting Attorney General of New Jersey, Andrew J. Bruck, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Shawn M. LaTourette, announced seven new environmental enforcement actions were filed in New Jersey. These lawsuits are conducive to the Murphy Administration’s movement to bring environmental justice to all communities of New Jersey, specifically overburdened communities. Pollution affects all residents of New Jersey, but specifically those of lower income neighborhoods, as they have been disproportionately exposed to environmental harms.

Five of the seven lawsuits were filed in in Camden, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark and Somerville. These lawsuits were filed to hold polluters liable for contaminating properties, where the contaminants pose a threat to residents and the natural resources of the cities. The subject properties are contaminated with petroleum products and other chemical pollutants that are known to cause health problems. The sixth lawsuit filed concerned underground fuel storage tanks located in three gas station properties in Runnemede, Voorhees and Pitman. The seventh lawsuit concerned an abandoned gasoline filling station in Mays Landing, where a system of unregistered and unmonitored unground storage tanks are located.

In addition to announcing the seven lawsuits, the Attorney General and Commissioner announced updates on the DEP’s Site Remediation Municipal Ticketing Program. This program was launched in 2018 and reflects New Jersey’s commitment to hold polluters accountable and to obtain remediation relief for overburdened communities. The Attorney General’s Office and the DEP have filed a total of 45 environmental injustice lawsuits since 2018. Many of the cases have resulted in Court Orders that require defendants to remediate properties that have been polluted. These lawsuits require the polluters to be held responsible for remediation instead of tax payers.

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