Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Transactional Real Estate, Development/Redevelopment & Environmental Law

Tag Archives: NJDEP

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

Remedial Investigation Extension Application Deadline Further Extended to March 21, 2014 by NJDEP

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) has announced that it will continue to accept applications for the two year extension from the May 7, 2014, deadline to complete remedial investigations until March 21, 2014, due to the high number of weather-related statewide closings. Originally, applications had to be filed with NJDEP by March 7, 2014. … Continue Reading

Remedial Investigation Deadline Extended to May 7, 2016 if Conditions Met

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
A number of Responsible Parties are breathing a sigh of relief. On January 21, 2014, Governor Christie signed legislation authorizing a two year extension for Responsible Parties to complete their remedial investigations before risking being placed under direct oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The deadline has been extended from May 14, 2014, to May 7, 2016, under certain circumstances. Pursuant to the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), the deadline applies to all site investigations or preliminary assessments that are being conducted to address discharges or contaminated areas of concern that have been or should have been identified on or before May 7, … Continue Reading

Funding Available for Site Remediation in New Jersey

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
On December 18, 2013, Susanne Peticolas, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, moderated a panel, "There May Be Money for Your Client for Site Remediation," sponsored by the New Jersey Bar Association's Environmental Law Section. The program focused on the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund ("HDSRF"). Michael Deely, Supervisor for NJDEP's HDSRF program, cheered the audience by reporting that the long depleted fund once again has money for site remediation grants and loans… Continue Reading

May 14, 2014 Remedial Investigation Deadline Approaching for Discharges Discovered Prior to May 7, 1999

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
Many Responsible Parties will be scrambling to meet the May 7, 2014 deadline to complete their remedial investigations. Failure to meet the deadline risks that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will undertake direct oversight of an entire contaminated site. Pursuant to the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), the May 2014 deadline applies to all discharges or contaminated areas of concern that have been or should have been identified on or before May 7, 1999, due to an obligation to complete a site investigation or preliminary assessment… Continue Reading

May 7, 2014 Remedial Investigation Deadline Approaching for Discharges Discovered Prior to May 7, 1999

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
Many Responsible Parties will be scrambling to meet the May 7, 2014 deadline to complete their remedial investigations. Failure to meet the deadline risks that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will undertake direct oversight of an entire contaminated site. Pursuant to the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), the May 2014 deadline applies to all discharges or contaminated areas of concern that have been or should have been identified on or before May 7, 1999, due to an obligation to complete a site investigation or preliminary assessment… Continue Reading

Appellate Division Finds a Six Year Statute of Limitations Applicable to New Jersey Spill Act Claims

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In what is a potential game changing decision, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Company, et al., Docket No. A-0313-11T3 (App. Div. Aug. 23, 2013) recently held that the six year statute of limitations applicable to property damage claims is applicable to private claims pursuant to the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act… Continue Reading

May I Come In?: N.J. Supreme Court Approves Warrantless DEP Searches of Residential Property Subject to Freshwater Wetlands Permit

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In a unanimous decision that was at once sweeping and limited, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) need not obtain a warrant before entering a residential parcel to ensure compliance with the terms of a wetlands permit. The Court stopped short of a blanket validation of all warrantless searches under the wetlands statute, or of all warrantless searches of residential property subject to any sort of permit, instead grounding its holding in the protections afforded by the process that DEP must follow, and limiting it to searches of properties that are subject to a wetlands permit… 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

NJDEP Temporarily Waives Permitting Requirements For Rebuilding Infrastructure After Sandy

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
On November 3, 2012, less than five days after Hurricane Sandy washed away much of the Jersey Shore and its infrastructure, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin signed Administrative Order No. 2012-13 (the "Order"), temporarily waiving permitting requirements for State, County and Municipal agencies seeking to rebuild after the storm. The swift action of NJDEP unleashed a storm of its own from critical environmentalists worried that the rush to rebuild the devastated areas would recreate the same vulnerabilities… Continue Reading

NJ Supreme Court Clarifies Nexus Standard Under Spill Act

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
In NJDEP v. Dimant, et al., the Department filed suit under New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act (the "Spill Act"), alleging that the defendant, Sue's Clothes Hanger, Inc. ("Sue's"), a dry cleaning business, was responsible for damages related to groundwater contamination on various properties in Bound Brook. The sole evidence supporting DEP's claim for damages against Sue's rested on a pipe that was found dripping perchloroethylene (PCE) onto a driveway in the late 1980s. The trial court judge ruled that the DEP had not sufficiently proved a nexus between the PCE dripping from Sue's pipe in the 1980s and the groundwater contamination at issue. The plaintiffs appealed… Continue Reading

Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Team Members Contribute Chapter in Brownfields Publication

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
David A. Brooks and Paul M. Hauge, both members of the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, contributed a chapter in Implementing Institutional Controls at Brownfields and Other Contaminated Sites. Edward F. McTiernan, Deputy Counsel with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, co-authored the chapter with Mr. Brooks and Mr. Hauge… Continue Reading

Final ARRCS Rules Adoption Published in NJ Register

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
To fully implement the Site Remediation Reform Act, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has published a notice of adoption of amendments to the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS rules), N.J.A.C. 7:26C in the New Jersey Register today, May 7, 2012. This adoption also amends several other rules related to site remediation in New Jersey, including the repeal and replacement of the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26E, and amendments to the Industrial Site Recovery Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:26B. This rule adoption is concurrent with the final May 7, 2012 deadline for almost all remediating parties to engage a Licensed Site Remediation Professional to conduct remediations in … 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

Groups Sue NJDEP to Block Waiver Rule

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
As we recently reported, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced on March 8 that it had finalized a new waiver rule that will permit the department to relax environmental rules in certain limited circumstances. It took a coalition of environmental and labor groups just two weeks to file a lawsuit challenging the new rule… 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

NJDEP Finalizes Waiver Rule

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced on March 8 that it had finalized a new waiver rule that will permit the department to relax environmental rules in certain limited circumstances. The new rule, which grew out an executive order from Governor Christie that called upon state agencies to apply "common sense principles" in implementing and enforcing legal requirements, will be formally published on April 2, 2012 and will become effective on August 1, … Continue Reading

NJDEP Clarifies Impact of Site Remediation Reform Act on Requirements of Administrative Consent Orders and Remediation Agreements

Posted in Environmental & Green Issues
With full implementation of the Site Remediation Reform Act on the horizon, the New Jersey Department Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently clarified that for parties currently proceeding with remediation under NJDEP oversight pursuant to an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) or Remediation Agreement (RA), such parties will be expected to engage a Licensed Site Remediation Professional no later than May 7, 2012. Any ACO/RA requirements to obtain NJDEP pre-approval of reports and workplans will be held in abeyance. Likewise, any ACO/RA specific timeframes will also be held in abeyance. Instead, responsible parties must meet all regulatory and mandatory timeframes prescribed in applicable rules. However, the ACO/RA will otherwise remain in effect until the remediation is complete or covered by a remedial action permit and parties will be subject to, among other requirements, the remediation funding source requirements and stipulated penalties… 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
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