Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Transactional Real Estate, Development/Redevelopment & Environmental Law

Tag Archives: DEP

New Jersey Supreme Court Finds Neither Plan Approval Nor Complete Remediation are Prerequisites to a Spill Act Contribution Action

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In Magic Petroleum Corporation v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a party funding remediation of a contaminated site may bring a contribution claim against other potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) before completing remediation and prior to receiving the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (“DEP’s”) written approval of the remediation plan. In so doing, the Court has provided certainty, to a degree, to the environmental remediation process in New Jersey… Continue Reading

Susanne Peticolas Authors Section on Bankruptcy for NJ Environmental Law Handbook

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
Susanne Peticolas, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, contributed a section on environmental issues in bankruptcy to the 8th edition of the New Jersey Environmental Law Handbook. Her section discusses the issues created by the conflicting policies underlying bankruptcy law, focusing on a fresh start for the debtor, as well as environmental law, which focuses on making the polluter pay. The section covers a wide range of relevant topics, including which environmental claims are bankruptcy “claims,” how environmental claims are impacted by the automatic stay, the identity of the claim holder, and the relief that is being sought… Continue Reading

Legislature Contemplates Extension of Moratorium on Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
At the end of last week, the New Jersey State Senate ("Senate") introduced Bill S3116 that proposes to continue the moratorium on the statewide non-residential development fee (the "Fee") that expired on July 1, 2013. Since July 1, 2013, developers and land use attorneys have been in a state of flux with regard to whether the fee applies to development projects. If passed, this legislation would extend the moratorium to December 31, … Continue Reading

More Streamlining of Permit Procedures for Rebuilding After Superstorm Sandy

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
A recent news release on the NJDEP website discusses new efforts by the Christie Administration to streamline vital rebuilding projects necessitated by the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. The new rules, which were adopted on an emergency basis on April 16th, are intended to eliminate some of the red tape typically associated with permit procedures, while ensuring the protection of coastal resources and encouraging the rebuilding of a more resilient New Jersey coastline. This is just the latest action taken by the Governor and NJDEP to ease the burden on residents, businesses and municipalities seeking to rebuild. Beginning as early as five days after the storm swept through New Jersey, actions were already being taken to waive permitting requirements for those rebuilding vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges. More recently, the Christie Administration adopted a streamlined process for property owners wanting to rebuild to new elevation standards in flood zones… Continue Reading

Raising Standards for Rebuilding After Sandy

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
For the first time in more than two decades, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") has updated its Advisory Base Flood Elevation ("ABFE") maps for New Jersey's coastal counties. The Christie Administration adopted these new standards as an emergency measure on January 24, 2013, and through formal NJDEP regulations, has now made them permanent. The revised FEMA elevations, which remain subject to change, are anywhere from two to four feet higher on average than the standards that had been in effect prior to Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey residents, particularly those impacted by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, should be aware of this change, as the NJDEP has incorporated these revised maps as the new standard throughout the state for the elevation of reconstructed homes in flood zones… Continue Reading

Appellate Court Upholds NJDEP “Waiver Rule”

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In a decision that gives the green light to an important component of the Christie Administration's "Common Sense Principles" approach to regulation, the Appellate Division has upheld the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) "waiver rule," which permits the department to waive strict compliance with many of its regulations in defined circumstances. Full implementation of the rule will have to wait, however, as the Appellate Court invalidated a variety of forms and guidance documents that NJDEP had posted on its website without going through the normal rulemaking process required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)… Continue Reading

NJDEP Posts FAQs on Post-Sandy Flood Elevation Standards

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") recently issued its answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the emergency amendments to New Jersey's Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules. The emergency regulations were signed into law by New Jersey Governor Christie on January 24, 2013, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The new regulations adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ("FEMA") updated Advisory Base Flood Elevation ("ABFEs") maps as the rebuilding standard for the entire state. The rules set minimum elevation standards for the reconstruction of houses and buildings in areas that are in danger of flooding. Because the rules are complex and so many officials and the public are affected, NJDEP issued the FAQs explaining the benefits of the amendments, who is covered, and tips for getting started… Continue Reading

Action Required: NJDEP Implements New Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") recently issued new vapor intrusion screening levels ("VISL") and related guidelines, which will have an immediate impact on existing remediation sites. The screening levels were updated to reflect the changes in toxicity values and risk-based equations set forth in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's ("USEPA") most recent Regional Screening Level ("RSL") Tables. NJDEP implemented the new VISL as of January 16, 2013. Parties conducting remediations and their Licensed Site Remediation Professionals will need to analyze how these new screening levels impact their sites… Continue Reading

Environmental Issues a Growing Concern for Companies

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
As companies in the northeast region take advantage of an improving real estate market, in the face of aggressive agency enforcement, and complex environmental programs and policies, the need for environmental counsel to assist with transactions, navigate potential pitfalls, and mitigate future liability, has become essential. In a recent article published by The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, three new Gibbons Directors - William Hatfield, Camille Otero, and David Freeman - discuss the firm's strategic decision to expand the practice group, the growth of the environmental law market, and how their experience can assist clients in this expanding field… Continue Reading

Cause for Concern? NJDEP to Score Contaminated Sites Under the Remedial Priority Scoring System

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") will soon release scores for contaminated properties pursuant to the Remedial Priority Scoring ("RPS") system. The RPS system was mandated by the Spill Compensation and Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.16) as amended by the Site Remediation Reform Act ("SRRA")… Continue Reading

Gibbons Environmental Attorneys Publish in New Jersey Law Journal

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
Irvin M. Freilich, Team Leader of the Gibbons Environmental Practice, Susanne Peticolas and Paul M. Hauge (Director and Associate, respectively) authored the lead article in the Environmental Law section of the February 27, 2012, New Jersey Law Journal. The article, entitled "Step Aside or Step Up?," discusses recent decisions from the New Jersey Appellate Division in Magic Petroleum Corp. v. Exxon Mobil Corp. and from the Third Circuit in Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Industries, Inc. These environmental cases involve the often-confusing doctrine of primary jurisdiction, under which courts -- sometimes -- abstain from rendering a decision in a given case to allow an expert agency to make its own determination first. You can read the entire article here… Continue Reading

The Extension of the Permit Extension Act is on the Move, To Be Reviewed Today By Assembly Appropriations Committee

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
About two months ago, several NJ Legislators, including State Senator Paul Sarlo (Bergen/Passaic) and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, proposed bills that would amend the 2008 "Permit Extension Act." Designed to give developers breathing room in the sluggish economy by extending the validity of development approvals, Proposed Bill S743 (the "Bill" or "S743") is gaining traction and is moving through the necessary legislative committees. On March 5, 2012, S743 passed by a vote of 4-0 by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The Bill is scheduled to go before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on March 12, … Continue Reading

The Permit Extension Act May Keep Extending

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
Apparently concerned that the economy may not be recovering rapidly enough, the 215th New Jersey Legislature now convened, introduced a new bill (A337) on January 10, 2012, by Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer of District 12, to change the definition of the "extension period" under the Permit Extension Act so that it runs through December 31, 2015. Therefore, based on the 6-month tolling provision currently in the Permit Extension Act, approvals received for development applications during the extension period could be extended as far out as June 30, 2016. Bill A337 has been referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee… Continue Reading

NJDEP to Issue Draft Remedial Priority Scores for Contaminated Sites

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In the next few weeks, responsible parties for some 12,000 known contaminated sites in New Jersey will be receiving a letter with a draft Remedial Priority Score (RPS) for their particular site compliments of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The NJDEP has not specified how the rankings will be used, although the RPS system has been described by the NJDEP as "a triage tool to sort sites for further consideration."… Continue Reading

New Jersey Releases Sensible Lease Process for State Lands

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
On August 18, 2011, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin and DOT Commissioner James Simpson released a set of guidelines to revamp and apply consistency to New Jersey's land leasing process for State Lands. A panel of ten State Agencies was convened to analyze the current lease policies and compile a Lease Valuation Report that offers recommendations on leases for Tidelands; Linear Corridor Projects (other than Tidelands); Publicly Bid, Market-Based and Nominal Fee leases; Telecommunications Towers and Antennas, Aquaculture, and leases Related to Transportation Corridors. The guidelines will be adopted by all State agencies, with most of the guidelines implemented immediately… Continue Reading

NJDEP Proposes New Rules for Site Cleanups

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
On August 15, 2011, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued proposed Final Rules to implement the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) adopted in May 2009. These rules are intended to be the final implementation step in the phased transition of New Jersey's site remediation process from NJDEP command and control to private oversight by Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs). Instead of NJDEP overseeing every step of a cleanup, the LSRP, licensed by a 13-member Licensed Site Remediation Professional Board with investigative and disciplinary powers, is responsible for making day-to-day decisions about a clean-up. Certain categories of cleanups remain under NJDEP oversight, such as where the responsible party has a history of non-compliance or has failed to meet mandatory deadlines. The rule proposal appeared in the New Jersey Register on August 15, 2011 and can be viewed online. Comments can be submitted until October 14, … Continue Reading

Court Overrules DEP, Finds Developer Was Entitled to Exemption From Highlands Act

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The New Jersey Appellate Division delivered a rebuke to the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on August 1, finding that DEP's Commissioner ignored undisputed evidence and made critical legal errors in holding that two development projects did not qualify for an exemption from the strict requirements of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act. The court's decision in Lakeside Manor v. State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reversed the Commissioner's decision, finding that the developer had satisfied all statutory requirements for the exemption… Continue Reading

Electric Vehicles – Charging Ahead in New Jersey

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
In early 2011, several bills were introduced to encourage the installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. Senator Greenstein introduced Senate bill 2603, in January, which would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide EV charging stations at the service areas along the toll roads, allocating 5% of the parking spaces to EV stations. The bill was reported out of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on February 14. In March, another bill, S2784, also introduced by Senator Greenstein, would require new shopping center developments to allocate 5% of the parking spaces to EV charging stations. Both of these bills have been sitting since the Spring. Nonetheless, even in the absence of legislative mandates, EV stations have been popping up in NJ and NY. One of the newest ones announced is in Avalon, … Continue Reading

NJICLE Holds its Annual Environmental Law Section Forum

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
On the weekend of June 24-26, 2011, the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education ("NJICLE") in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association ("NJSBA"), and New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association, held its annual Environmental Law Section Forum Weekend ("the Forum"). Taking place in Avalon, New Jersey, the Forum featured three days of seminars covering various hot-button environmental topics including, Funding for Remediating Sites, Vapor Intrusion, the LSRP Program, Non-Governmental Organizations' Perspectives on Issues and Resolutions, the well-known NJDEP v. Occidental case also referred to as the Lower Passaic River litigation, Climate Change, and rounded out the weekend with two programs on Ethical Issues including Alternative Fee Arrangements and Multi-Party Settlements… Continue Reading

Proposed Legislation Will Require Shopping Center Developments in NJ to Provide Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
One of the problems with electric cars (EVs) is - what do you do when the battery runs down? Currently there are 500 charging stations in the United States and 400 of them are in California. In an attempt to address the dead battery problem and encourage purchase of EVs, on March 21, 2011, the New Jersey State Senate introduced Bill S2784 (the "Bill") which requires owners of shopping center developments to include charging stations. Under the Bill, owners of a "shopping center development" must equip not less than five (5%) percent of the parking spaces for the shopping center development with electric vehicle charging stations. Moreover, such stations must be available for use during the hours of operation of the shopping center development… Continue Reading

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Proposes Waiver Rule for Economic Growth

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
Today, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) published a proposed rule outlining circumstances in which the department would consider a waiver of environmental regulations that stand in the way of economic development. NJDEP will be holding a hearing on the proposed rule on April 14, 2011, at 3:00 pm… Continue Reading

NJ Senate Considering Whether to Limit Power of DEP, DCA Commissioners

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
On February 17, 2011, the Assembly unanimously adopted bill A 2722. The bill, which is intended to implement some of the findings of the Red Tape Review Group, would amend the Administrative Procedures Act and provide administrative law judges ("ALJs") with more tools to streamline contested administrative law cases. Interestingly, however, the bill would also strip the Commissioners of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") and Department of Community Affairs ("DCA"), as well as some others, of their power to review, modify, or reject ALJs' decisions in contested cases… Continue Reading

USEPA Soliciting Comments on Guidance for Institutional Controls

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
Institutional controls, regulatory limits on human activity at a site, go by many names. The Department of Defense uses the term "land use controls." ASTM E2091-00 has elected to use the phase "activity and use limitations." Traditional real estate lawyers often think in terms of "covenants" or "easements." Here in New Jersey, the Site Remediation Program uses the term "Deed Notice," while the Freshwater Wetlands Permit Program has adopted the term "Conservation Restriction or Easement," N.J.A.C. 7:7A-1.4. Whatever name they go by, institutional controls are intended to regulate human behavior and are used to supplement environmental remediation efforts by reducing the risk of unintended exposure to residual contamination. As a result, institutional controls are critical to the redevelopment of contaminated real estate and cost-effective clean-ups… Continue Reading
Lexblog