Second Wave of Environmental Enforcement Lawsuits Filed in New Jersey Today: Murphy Administration Takes More Steps Forward on Environmental Justice, Natural Resource Damages
On the heels of the six environmental enforcement lawsuits they filed in August, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced eight brand new environmental enforcement lawsuits filed today. The suits relate to sites scattered throughout the state – Camden, Flemington, Newark, Palmyra, Pennsauken, Phillipsburg and Trenton – mapped out here. The main focus for this wave of cases is environmental justice, which means environmental enforcement that is focused on addressing pollution and environmental hazards in minority and lower-income communities. Environmental justice is very much on the Murphy Administration radar.
One of the cases, involving the alleged pollution of drinking water drawn from the Puchack Wellfield in Pennsauken, Camden County, asserts claims for natural resource damages, known as “NRDs.” There hadn’t been an NRD case filed in New Jersey for almost a decade until this past August, when the state filed three such cases.
The state is seeking remedies across the board from the various defendants – cleanup and removal of contamination, financial penalties, recovery of tax monies spent by the state to clean up polluted sites, as well as NRDs. The dollar amount of each of these types of remedies can add up very quickly, so we are talking about real money here. The state just took another big action showing it may very well be a “new day” in environmental enforcement in New Jersey.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.
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