A Department of Environmental Protection proposed regulation in the December 17, 2018 New Jersey Register, 50 N.J.R. 2480(a), will limit the public’s ability to learn the location of birds and animals “potentially capable of inflicting serious or fatal injuries or being a menace to public health…”  Pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. (OPRA), the public may obtain government records unless otherwise exempted.  Other than the owner of a particular property…
In Terranova v. General Electric Pension Trust,  a decision approved for publication, the Appellate Division has confirmed that “[j]udicial estoppel is a defense to Spill Act claims for contribution . . .”  The matter arises out of two cases involving gasoline released from underground storage tanks (USTs) removed and replaced in or about 2000.  In the first case, the current property owner plaintiffs brought suit in 2010 solely against two former tenants seeking, inter alia,…
In an unpublished decision, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently ruled that the NJDEP was required, but failed, to undertake formal rulemaking before imposing liability under several NJDEP regulations that govern radon measurement and mitigation activities.  NJDEP v. Radiation Data, Inc., Docket No. A‑1777‑17T3 (N.J. App. Div. Oct. 9, 2018). In Radiation Data, defendant appealed from NJDEP’s final agency decision (after seven days of hearings) finding defendant liable for violating…
NJDEP has proposed major amendments to the Stormwater Management rules at N.J.A.C. 7:8. (50 N.J.R. 2375(a)).  One of those proposed amendments, if adopted, will prevent or severely limit a developer’s ability to incorporate non-structural stormwater management strategies such as stormwater detention basins in a development. Instead, the developer will be required to utilize “green infrastructure” best management practices (“BMPs”).  One of the best definitions of green infrastructure comes from American Rivers:  “Green infrastructure is an…
Last week, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection held a press conference to announce the filing of eight new environmental enforcement actions. Targeted sites include Camden’s Puchack Wellfield Superfund Site, the Fillit Corp. site in Palmyra, 323 North Olden Ave. in Trenton, the Novick Chemical site in Newark, Tirpok Cleaners in Flemington, and gas stations in Newark, Camden and Phillipsburg. This is the State’s second round of…
The New Jersey Appellate Division recently ruled that a landowner’s lawsuit against a former attorney and environmental consultant could proceed to the discovery phase.  In CCM Properties, LLC, et al. v. Pieper, et al, the plaintiff engaged an environmental consultant to perform a ground penetrating radar survey of a property to determine whether any underground storage tanks were present.  The contract specifically stated that no historical analysis or soil sampling would be performed, and further…
The Appellate Division has affirmed a $66,200 administrative penalty imposed by DEP against the owner of a shopping center constructed atop a closed municipal landfill. The unpublished and non-precedential decision in NJDEP v. Raritan Shopping Center LP found liability based on current ownership of the contaminated site, despite the landowner never discharging hazardous substances and conducting due diligence prior to purchasing. Raritan purchased the property in 1993 after conducting environmental tests that discovered low levels…
On September 5, 2018, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals (“Third Circuit”) rendered a decision that could potentially implicate the NJDEP permitting process in future Natural Gas Act and other federal permitting actions. In Township of Bordentown, et al. v. FERC, No. 17-3207 (3rd Cir.  September 5, 2018), the Third Circuit held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) could not deny the Petitioners the ability to request an adjudicatory hearing…
Effective August 6, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP” or the “Department”) adopted amendments to several key rules governing site remediation—including Discharges of Petroleum and Other Hazardous Substances (N.J.A.C. 7:1E); Heating Oil Tank System Remediation Rules; Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (“ARRCS,” N.J.A.C. 7:26C); and the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (“Technical Regulations,” N.J.A.C. 7:26E). While this rule adoption made many modifications to these regulations, we call two significant…
In a recent decision, U.S. Masters Residential Property (USA) Fund v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Financial Services Element, the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division held that a claimant could not recover from the Spill Fund where contamination on the claimant’s properties was the result of historic fill and defuse anthropogenic pollution (“DAP”), not oil. The claimant owned several contiguous residential properties in Bayonne not far from Upper New York Bay and…