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NJ Appeals Court Rules Municipal Courts Can Enforce Spill Act Penalties

NJ Appeals Court Rules Municipal Courts Can Enforce Spill Act Penalties

Author: Daniel T. McKillopDate: January 27, 2020

Before the close of 2019, the Appellate Division held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can enforce the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act) in municipal courts. The ruling in New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Alsol Corporation is significant given that the NJDEP is increasingly seeking to enforce Spill Act penalties in the municipal courts.

The Spill Act provides that “any person who has discharged a hazardous substance, or is in any way responsible for any hazardous substance, shall be strictly liable, jointly and severally, without regard to fault, for all cleanup and removal costs no matter by whom incurred.” The statute, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11f(a)(2)(a), also authorizes a private cause of action by a responsible party for contribution from other responsible parties.

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