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NJBIA submitted comments to the state Department of Environmental Protection this week on how site remediation projects should be treated under the recently enacted New Jersey Environmental Justice Act.

In his letter to the department, NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor clarifies that in order for the new law to be applied to a site remediation site, the activity must be in a defined burdened community, must be undertaken by a facility as defined by the Act and the facility must be seeking a permit from the DEP for that activity.

“If one is missing, the Act does not apply no matter what the activity or presumed impact,” Cantor wrote. “Of course, the DEP retains its underlying authority to regulate the activity as applicable, it just cannot apply the Act’s requirements or standards to that activity.”

Cantor said the comments were necessary as the environmental justice law already exempts out site remediation and related permits.

“We are just asking for further clarification so that the legislative intent is carried out,” he said.

Cantor also noted the importance of specificity on what permits may be excluded from the environmental justice law, because many of the permits needed for a remediation may be issued by other DEP programs other than the site remediation program (SRP).

“For instance, to excavate an area to remove soil, a freshwater wetlands permit may be needed from the land use program,” Cantor said. “To treat groundwater or dewater materials, a discharge permit or water allocation permit may be needed from the water program.

“Even though these permit approvals are issued by programs other than SRP, it is clear that these permits or approvals are covered by the Act’s exemption as an “authorization or approval necessary to perform a remediation.”

To see Cantor’s full comments to DEP, click here.