New Jersey employers need permit extensions and new deadlines for everything from the reports they have to file to the licenses they need to get renewed. So NJBIA has sent a letter to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection asking Commissioner Catherine McCabe to use her discretion in temporarily modifying certain regulatory requirements as businesses confront an unprecedented disruption to their operations.
While the letter came from NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Ray Cantor, the information was provided by a wide range of New Jersey businesses groups that formed a coalition in support of these changes.. Below is the full text of the letter.
Mr. Sean Moriarty
Chief Advisor for Regulatory Affair
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Dear Mr. Moriarty:
Thank you for agreeing to consider the concerns of the business community concerning regulatory, compliance, and permit deadlines given the limitations of our businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic
We recognize that the Commissioner has the authority to issue an Administrative Order pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order No. 103 by Governor Murphy to “waive, suspend, or modify any existing rule, where the enforcement of which would be detrimental to the public welfare during this emergency.” Given the closure of many of our businesses, the mandate for working at home and for social distancing, the closure or lack of services being provided by local government, the unavailability of many consultants and laboratories, and the limits of the Department’s resources, we respectfully request that the Commissioner exercise her discretion to alleviate many of the requirements the business community has in meeting various permits, compliance, and regulatory deadlines.
The following is a list of requirements our various membership has specifically identified. In preparing this document I have compiled the suggestions from numerous business groups and environmental professionals. While long, our suggestions are in no way exhaustive. As a general matter, given the limitation of doing business during this time of emergency, we would suggest that there be a general extension of all permit, regulatory, renewal, and compliance deadlines for at least 60-days beyond the expiration of EO 103. Exceptions could be made when there is an imminent threat to public health and safety. We are not suggesting that there be any limitation of reporting spills, discharges, or other events where immediate or expeditious notification to the Department is required.
I will also note that other states, such as Maryland, have extended its permits and licenses across the board:
“As part of the state’s strong response to COVID-19, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order providing a grace period for any state licenses, permits and/or registrations that may be expiring or up for renewal during the state of emergency. Renewal deadlines will be extended up to 30 days after the state of emergency is lifted. More information will be provided later by your MDE program contacts. All mission-critical emergency response, field inspections and site visits necessary for the protection of public health and the environment will continue,”
General Environmental Permitting/Reporting/Invoices:
- Extension for submittal of any bill payments;
- Extension for any and all existing permits, in particular all those that were extended in the Permit Extension Act;
- Extension for permit shields for all permit renewal applications;
- Waiver for periodic sampling and routine inspections for any and all existing permit and regulatory requirement or relaxation/enforcement discretion on timing for these requirements, with the understanding that analytical laboratories may have their own limitations;
- Extension for environmental reporting requirements, or relaxation/enforcement discretion on delayed/regulatory reporting;
- Extend permit deadlines for needing local approvals, recording deeds or conditions of compliance, payment of fees, payment of penalties, or other specific actions in ACOs or other compliance documents;
- Extension of Center designations under State Plan, as those designations expire soon and towns may have difficulty applying to maintain that designation in current crisis.
Site Remediation Program:
- Extension to mandatory deadline for Remedial Investigation and Remedial Action completion;
- Extensions to mandatory deadlines for ISRA Preliminary Assessment Reports/Site Investigation Reports;
- Extensions to mandatory deadlines for Regulated UST Site Investigation Reports;
- Extension for submittal of Remediation Funding Source/Financial Assurance, including Annual RFS Cost Reviews;
- Extension to respond to DEP information requests via emails/letters related to site remediation program activity;
- Extension for submittal of Biennial Certifications, including extensions for any monitoring/sampling requirements associated with all Remedial Action Permits.
Extensions for LNAPL IRM/LNAPL Reporting
- Extension for receptor evaluation requirements.
- Extensions for renewal of individual and company UST certifications, including time to have continuing education requirements completed.
- Extension of UST facility registration renewal
- Extension for renewal of vapor recovery GP-04 and GP – 04 B
- Extension for completion of repairs at UST facilities including deadlines specified by ACOs issued to allow continued operation of gas stations and other regulated facilities while achieving regulatory compliance with UST rules.
- Allowing UST facility to operate if Class C operator cannot be present;
- Waiver for any third-party vendor verifications for tank inspections or relaxation/enforcement discretion on timing for these requirements, with the understanding that analytical laboratories may have their own limitations.
- Waiver for any third-party vendor verification including, but not limited to, sampling and monitoring, and inspections, or relaxation/enforcement discretion on timing for these requirements, with the understanding that analytical laboratories may have their own limitations;
- Extension for environmental reporting and inspection requirements, including Discharge Monitoring Reports, or relaxation/enforcement discretion on delayed/late regulatory reporting;
- Wastewater/Drinking Water – facilities need flexibility with sampling requirements (frequency and location) due to access and staffing issues;
- Allow recall of retired licensed operators for anticipated staffing shortages without needing necessary continuing education credits or maintaining a license;
- Provide for an affirmative defense in this situation under the NJPDES Program as an avenue for relief from penalty.
- Waiver for any third-party vendor verification including, but not limited to, PSM, stack testing, opacity monitoring, and inspections;
- Relaxation/enforcement discretion on timing for the above requirements with the understanding that analytical laboratories and environmental consulting firms may have their own limitations;
- Extension for emission statements or relaxation/enforcement discretion on delayed/late regulatory reporting.
Compliance and Enforcement – General delay of compliance and submittal deadlines
- Postponement (e. suspension) of routine Compliance & Enforcement on-site inspections or guidance/policy on inspections and audits for accommodation purposes, with the understanding that each company takes its own precautionary measures (e.g. implementing health screenings/temperature readings at the gate);
- Any routine inspections that are done should ensure that inspectors have been tested for coronavirus especially that many businesses have implemented strict on-site access limitations to ensure the safety of their workers;
- Extension to comply with regulated medical waste maximum limits;
- Extension to comply with hazardous waste accumulation requirements;
- Extension for issues related to state, county, and local input given anticipated delays at all levels of government (e.g. OPRA requests, Deed Notice filings, etc.).
- Comment period extensions;
- Postponement of timeframe to complete stakeholder meetings;
- With regard to EO 100 and AO 1, all deadlines for process or rule changes should be moved back to at least 60-days after the end of the rescission of EO 103 and all subsequent EOs related to the pandemic;
- Related to EO 100 and A0 1, delay the implementation of the environmental assessment pursuant to EO 215 of 1989.
- Extend expiration of letters of interpretation and flood hazard area verifications;
- Extension of all permits and approvals;
- Extend compliance dates for any permits or approvals conditions.
- Delay in reporting submittals under the A-901 program;
- Delay in implementation of the A-901 requirements for recyclers under recently adopted legislation.
Thank you again for your consideration and I would be willing to put together a call with you and the appropriate persons to discuss the specifics in this letter.
Vice President, Government Affairs