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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…. Read More »

Appellate Division Case Demonstrates Importance of Carefully Negotiated Escrow Agreements

Real estate transactions involving commercial and residential properties frequently employ the use of escrow agreements to address potential environmental issues.  This practice is widespread in New Jersey and it permits properties that may have environmental issues to go to closing without first accomplishing a cleanup.  This practice is good for the buyer, good for the… Read More »

NJDEP Updates Soil Remediation Standards for 19 Contaminants

Effective September 18, 2017, new soil remediation standards govern the cleanup of contaminated sites in New Jersey.  The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) recently updated remedial standards for nineteen contaminants based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s revisions to carcinogenic slope factor and non-carcinogenic reference dose data in its Integrated Risk Information… Read More »

Further Action Required Despite Issue of No Further Action Letters

In Drytech, Inc. v. State of New Jersey, the plaintiff manufacturer of desiccants appealed a Chancery Division order dismissing its complaint against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), in which it sought a declaration that it did not have to comply with the remedial obligations imposed by the Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”),… Read More »

NJ Federal Court Provides Hope to Insureds Unable to Locate Historic Liability Policies and Coverage

In E.M. Sergeant Pulp & Chemical Co., Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., Inc., plaintiff policyholder sought coverage and defense costs for environmental pollution claims under policies allegedly issued by defendant insurer. Civ. No. 12-1741, 2015 WL 9413094 (D.N.J. Jan. 17, 2017).  Plaintiff, a distributor of heavy industrial inorganic chemicals and raw materials, owned property in… Read More »

State of New Jersey Not Liable for pre-1977 Hazardous Discharges

On March 27, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a very important decision concerning Spill Act liability in contribution cases.  In the case of NL Industries, Inc. v. State of New Jersey, the Court held that the State is not liable to pay cleanup costs for “pre-Act” discharges, meaning discharges that occurred before the… Read More »

Laches to defeat a private party contribution claim under the Spill Act?

In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that private party contribution claims under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”) are not time barred by a statute of limitations. See Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., 220 N.J. 360 (2015).  Accordingly, private claims for contribution pursuant to the Spill Act… Read More »

When Remediation Goes Wrong: Appellate Division Says Remedial Efforts May Constitute Evidence Spoliation

In 18-01 Pollitt Drive, LLC v. Engel, the Appellate Division held that the discard of piping, a sump pit, and concrete flooring during remediation constitutes spoliation of material, physical evidence. Docket No. A-4833-13T3 (App. Div. Oct. 31, 2016).  Spoliation of evidence occurs when a litigant has “hidden, destroyed, or lost relevant evidence and thereby impaired… Read More »

A draft settlement is not an executable agreement for parties seeking to settle Natural Resource Damage liability under the Spill Act

The Appellate Division recently handed down its decision in Cumberland Farms, Inc. v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al., holding that no enforceable settlement existed between the two parties with respect to Natural Resource Damage (“NRD”) claims associated with fifty-four sites. Under the Spill Act, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”)… Read More »

New EPA Rule Increases Civil Monetary Penalties in the Name of Inflation

Civil penalties, including those levied by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under statutes such as the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, dramatically increased on August 1, 2016.  Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the “Inflation Improvement Act”), federal agencies are required… Read More »