NJDEP Proposes Major Legislative Changes to the Site Remediation Program

November 24, 2008
by BRUCE KATCHER
MGKF Special Alert

In testimony delivered before the New Jersey Senate Environment Committee on November 13, 2008, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) rolled out its version of proposed legislation to create a licensed site professional (LSP) program that would partially privatize a large part of NJDEP's site remediation program (SRP) activities. Driven primarily by the objective of reducing the NJDEP's fabled SRP case backlog, the bill would require most cleanups to use an LSP and LSPs would be subject to a strict code of conduct with very onerous enforcement provisions, including penalties up to $50,000 per violation.

The bill would also introduce a number of other SRP reforms, the most significant of which would modify the financial assurance (remediation funding source) requirements by limiting the use of self-guarantees to 50 percent of remedial action costs and extending these requirements to a much broader category of non-ISRA cases. The bill would also create a new 5 percent one-time surcharge on the use of non-permanent remedies, expand NJDEP's authority over remedy selection, require NJDEP to set mandatory timeframes for initiating and completing remedial activities, and extend the statute of limitations for natural resource damage claims. To better understand the bill and its potential impact, answers to key questions about the LSP program and other proposed reforms can be found here.

If enacted, these changes are likely to have a significant impact on how cases are processed, the cost of consultants and cleanups, and the available range of cleanup strategies at many sites. For more information on specifics of the bill or commenting on it, clients may contact Bruce Katcher at bkatcher@mgkflaw.com or 484-430-5700.

The author acknowledges the contributions of Matthew Sullivan, Jonathan Spergel and Darryl Borrelli to this Special Alert and the accompanying Questions and Answers.