Scarinci Hollenbeck Ready to Help Businesses Facing Environmental Justice Suits 

Author: John M. Scagnelli|August 31, 2022

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently announced seven new environmental enforcement actions...
Scarinci Hollenbeck Ready to Help Businesses Facing Environmental Justice Suits 

Scarinci Hollenbeck Ready to Help Businesses Facing Environmental Justice Suits 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently announced seven new environmental enforcement actions...

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently announced seven new environmental enforcement actions. The suits, which are part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing environmental justice initiative, have the potential to result in significant liability for the entities involved.

Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Environmental Law Group, which is one of New Jersey’s most experienced and respected, is well-positioned to help defend environmental justice lawsuits and help impacted entities reach a successful resolution. Our environmental attorneys are skilled in both environmental litigation and remediation strategies and have a proven track record of working together to help our clients minimize or avoid costly liability for contamination.

Risk of Environmental Justice Lawsuits Growing

Over the past several years, the Murphy Administration has taken numerous steps to elevate the importance of environmental justice. As we have discussed in prior articles, its actions to address pollution and environmental hazards in minority and lower-income communities include launching an environmental justice initiative, creating an Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spearheading the enactment of New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law, and bringing enforcement actions targeting polluters in minority and lower-income communities.

According to the NJDEP, its most recent enforcement actions are intended to “send a message to polluters,” particularly those with property located in overburdened communities. “In New Jersey, we are confronting the historic injustices that have burdened low-income and minority communities with a disproportionate amount of pollution,” DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said in a press statement. “Our commitment to furthering the promise of environmental justice sometimes demands that we take legal action to correct the legacy of pollution that underserved communities have endured.”

The suits allege violations of New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act, Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act, Industrial Site Recovery Act, Water Pollution Control Act, Solid Waste Management Act, and Industrial Site Remediation Reform Act and involve several different types of alleged contamination, such as former filling station operations that discharged gasoline, diesel fuel, and waste oil into the ground and dumping tainted fill at a former coal ash disposal site. The remedies sought in the suits include clean-up of the contaminated properties, payment of civil penalties, compliance with administrative orders previously issued by the NJDEP, and reimbursement to the State for the cost of site investigation, remediation, monitoring, and other related work.

How We Can Help

The recent enforcement actions confirm that addressing contamination in minority and lower-income communities remains a top priority for the Murphy Administration. According to the NJDEP, including the lawsuits filed today, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and NJDEP have filed a total of 52 environmental justice cases since 2018. To date, the lawsuits have yielded nearly $20 million in judgments.

For entities currently facing enforcement actions, it is imperative to take swift legal action. If you have not done so already, the first step is to contact an experienced environmental law attorney.

All other property owners and others that may be responsible for pollution and other environmental hazards in such communities should also be prepared for increased scrutiny. Given that the costs of remediation and related enforcement penalties, businesses should also be proactive in seeking legal counsel.


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AboutJohn M. Scagnelli

John Scagnelli is Partner and Chair of the Firm’s Enivronmental & Land Use Law Group. His environmental law practice covers the entire environmental law field, including environmental compliance, environmental litigation, environmental auditing, environmental permitting and environmental counseling.Full Biography

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Scarinci Hollenbeck Ready to Help Businesses Facing Environmental Justice Suits 

Scarinci Hollenbeck Ready to Help Businesses Facing Environmental Justice Suits 
Author: John M. Scagnelli

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently announced seven new environmental enforcement actions. The suits, which are part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing environmental justice initiative, have the potential to result in significant liability for the entities involved.

Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Environmental Law Group, which is one of New Jersey’s most experienced and respected, is well-positioned to help defend environmental justice lawsuits and help impacted entities reach a successful resolution. Our environmental attorneys are skilled in both environmental litigation and remediation strategies and have a proven track record of working together to help our clients minimize or avoid costly liability for contamination.

Risk of Environmental Justice Lawsuits Growing

Over the past several years, the Murphy Administration has taken numerous steps to elevate the importance of environmental justice. As we have discussed in prior articles, its actions to address pollution and environmental hazards in minority and lower-income communities include launching an environmental justice initiative, creating an Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spearheading the enactment of New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law, and bringing enforcement actions targeting polluters in minority and lower-income communities.

According to the NJDEP, its most recent enforcement actions are intended to “send a message to polluters,” particularly those with property located in overburdened communities. “In New Jersey, we are confronting the historic injustices that have burdened low-income and minority communities with a disproportionate amount of pollution,” DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said in a press statement. “Our commitment to furthering the promise of environmental justice sometimes demands that we take legal action to correct the legacy of pollution that underserved communities have endured.”

The suits allege violations of New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act, Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act, Industrial Site Recovery Act, Water Pollution Control Act, Solid Waste Management Act, and Industrial Site Remediation Reform Act and involve several different types of alleged contamination, such as former filling station operations that discharged gasoline, diesel fuel, and waste oil into the ground and dumping tainted fill at a former coal ash disposal site. The remedies sought in the suits include clean-up of the contaminated properties, payment of civil penalties, compliance with administrative orders previously issued by the NJDEP, and reimbursement to the State for the cost of site investigation, remediation, monitoring, and other related work.

How We Can Help

The recent enforcement actions confirm that addressing contamination in minority and lower-income communities remains a top priority for the Murphy Administration. According to the NJDEP, including the lawsuits filed today, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and NJDEP have filed a total of 52 environmental justice cases since 2018. To date, the lawsuits have yielded nearly $20 million in judgments.

For entities currently facing enforcement actions, it is imperative to take swift legal action. If you have not done so already, the first step is to contact an experienced environmental law attorney.

All other property owners and others that may be responsible for pollution and other environmental hazards in such communities should also be prepared for increased scrutiny. Given that the costs of remediation and related enforcement penalties, businesses should also be proactive in seeking legal counsel.