Environmental Organizations Granted Right to Appeal NJDEP’s $225 Million NRD Settlement with Exxon Mobil, but Settlement is Upheld

Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP
Daniel Flynn

February 27, 2018

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently affirmed a trial court’s approval, under New Jersey’s Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act), of a high profile $225 million settlement between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) for natural resource damages (NRD) allegedly caused by Exxon’s operation of refinery facilities in Linden and Bayonne, New Jersey.

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EPA Requests Comment on Regulating Discharges of Pollutants into Groundwater

Manko, Gold, Katcher, Fox, LLP
Jonathan E. Rinde and Zachary J. Koslap

March 1, 2018

MGKF Special Alert

On February 20, EPA requested comment on whether pollutant discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater may be subject to Clean Water Act (“CWA”) regulation.  Specifically, EPA seeks comment on whether EPA should consider clarification or revision of previous EPA statements regarding the Agency’s mandate to regulate discharges to surface waters via groundwater under the CWA.

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U.S. EPA Moves Program Responsibilities Back To Resource-Starved States

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Jeryl L. Olson, Kay R. Bonza and Craig B. Simonsen

February 5, 2018

This article was originally published in Seyfarth Shaw Workplace Safety & Environmental Law Alert Blog

Seyfarth Synopsis: In a guidance document issued last week, U.S. EPA sets out to deliberately move environmental enforcement responsibilities back to the states. While this may, to local interests, represent a noble purpose, few states are manned and ready to take on additional responsibilities.

In yet another move providing relief to industry from federal enforcement, the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) last week issued an Interim Guidance on Enhancing Regional-State Planning and Communication on Compliance Assurance Work in Authorized States (January 22, 2018) (Guidance).

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LSRP Corner: Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance

Synergy Environmental, Inc.
Dennis Libenson, LSRP

February 14, 2018

The NJDEP released Version 4.1 of the Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance in January 2018. This version included a significant clarification to the discussion of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC).

The NJDEP noted in Version 4 of the Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance that gasoline additives such as oxygenates or lead scavengers are not considered as PHC. Going further, NJDEP now explicitly states the following in the most recent version:

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Mandatory Reporting Deadlines Approach for Manufacturers, Importers and Users of Chemicals

Sidley Austin LLP
Judah Prero, Byron Taylor

February 12, 2018

The Toxic Substances Control Act inventory reset process is now taking place. The reporting deadline for chemical manufacturers and importers was February 7 2018, and the deadline for all other companies that use chemicals is October 5 2018. Meeting these deadlines is important because a chemical will not be legal for use in the United States if it is not identified, reported (or subject to an exemption) and included in the active Toxic Substances Control Act inventory.

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Trump Administration Seeks to Scale Back Environmental Requirements for Infrastructure Projects

White & Case LLP
Seth Kerschner and Laura Mulry

February 7, 2018

The Trump Administration is proposing to revise federal environmental requirements and procedures in order to streamline the permitting and approval processes for infrastructure projects. The Administration’s draft proposals, of which there are more than 50, contemplate amending major environmental statutes, redefining the roles and procedures of federal agencies, and limiting judicial action, including by limiting the circumstances under which courts can halt project activities. Federal environmental laws that may be revised include the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”)1, the Endangered Species Act (the “ESA”), the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. The proposals would require significant actions by multiple federal agencies and Congress before implementation.

The Trump Administration indicates that the proposals will reduce redundancies and delays in the environmental permitting and approval processes for infrastructure projects. The proposals limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) review, rating, and veto authority over environmental permits and analyses of infrastructure projects, set firm deadlines on environmental reviews, and allow federal agencies to delegate environmental review power to the states. The proposals also require a general rewrite of NEPA regulations with the goal of streamlining the NEPA review process. One proposal with the aim of timely agency reviews limits the NEPA review process to two (2) years in total (i.e., 21 months to conclude the NEPA document, plus three months for permits to be issued).

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How Will President Trump’s Solar Panel Trade Barrier Affect the Economy?

Harris Beach PLLC
Gene Kelly

January 20, 2018

With President Trump’s recent announcement of import tariffs on solar panels, the domestic solar energy industry now faces an additional challenge – how to continue to reduce the cost of the power it produces in order to gain even greater energy market penetration.

In recent years, U.S. solar developers have successfully achieved economies of scale, making the electrical energy they produce not only competitive with, but in many instances actually cheaper than, the retail cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Just ten years ago, the cost of generating electricity through solar panels was in the neighborhood of $600 per MWh, while generating the same amount of power through traditional fossil fuels cost roughly $100. Due to a variety of factors, most significantly, the continued lowering of solar panels and related solar farm components, the equation has flipped.

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Contaminants of Emerging Concern Such as PFAS to Receive Increased Attention in New Jersey

Manko Gold Katcher & Fox
John F. Gullace

January 18, 2018

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Site Remediation and Waste Management Program recently launched a webpage dedicated to “Contaminants of Emerging Concern.” According to NJDEP, the new webpage “focuses on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)” such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA); and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS). NJDEP later announced at a technical conference that hundreds of PFAS are present in the environment; are detrimental to human health and the environment in very low concentrations; and are actively being studied by NJDEP. The import of these comments from NJDEP is that the State is developing standards for many other PFAS.

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2018 Outlook on the Clean Power Plan

Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Susan G. Lafferty, Joshua L. Belcher and Samina M. Bharmal

January 12, 2018

Heading into 2018, undoing the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s signature regulation for addressing climate change, remains a high priority under the Trump Administration. While 2017 was rife with statements, some more formal than others, that the Clean Power Plan was facing its end, 2018 may produce actual results for industry. A repeal proposal is expected to be finalized this year. The Administration has also signaled that a potential replacement rule is in the works, which could pose significantly less, or at least different, burdens on regulated industry.

 What is the Clean Power Plan?

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Who Can Be a Redeveloper of Property in New Jersey?

Stark & Stark
Eric S. Goldberg

January 2, 2018

This article was originally posted on the Stark & Stark New Jersey Law Blog

One of the questions that I am frequently asked is, “Who can develop property in a redevelopment area?”

As discussed below, redevelopment can be done by anyone, subject to restrictions discussed below, and is not necessarily restricted to just large scale developers.

A redeveloper is defined by New Jersey’s Local Housing and Redevelopment Law (the “LHRL”) as “… any person, firm, corporation, or public body that shall enter into or propose to enter into a contract with a municipality or other redevelopment entity for the redevelopment or rehabilitation of an area in need of redevelopment…”.

Thus, for a redeveloper to make use of the LHRL, a municipality must have first declared a property or properties as an area in need of redevelopment.

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