Governor Corzine yesterday signed into law the Site Remediation Reform Act, setting into motion the long-awaited reform of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's site remediation program. The act authorizes the NJDEP to accept certifications (subject to audit) of "licensed site remediation professionals," or "LSRPs," that a contaminated site has been adequately investigated and cleaned. In the past, day-to-day oversight by the NJDEP was required. The governor's signature was accompanied by an executive order seemingly intended to remind New Jerseyians and others that the hiring of outside contractors is the best approach to remediating thousands of sites in a state that has been industrialized for centuries. Still, the executive order makes it clear that the NJDEP will continue to exercise its broad authority to ensure the protection of the public health and welfare by

  1. assuming a "compliance and enforcement and monitoring role" of LSRPs;
  2. increasing its auditing, monitoring, and review of conditions at priority sites, including residential sites, sites occupied by children, and sites where groundwater is impacted; and
  3. assuming direct supervision of remediation of certain sites subject to guidelines to be established by the NJDEP within 60 days of the executive order.

The executive order also contains some additional specific provisions. It requires the DEP to conduct at least one review of documents submitted by each LSRP in the next two years and to prepare annual reports on the implementation of the act for the governor. It also requires that the DEP issue technical assistance grants to at least five local community environmental groups each year during the temporary phase of the LSRP program to evaluate the effectiveness of the act. Every document submitted by an LSRP, as well as its audit findings, must be posted on the NJDEP Web site.

In the next three months, the NJDEP will prepare LSRP applications and set procedures for the issuance of temporary licenses. The agency will draft presumptive remedy guidance and interim rules within the next six months. Once interim rules and the temporary license program are in place, new cases subject to the NJDEP's Site Remediation Program will be overseen by LSRPs.

Executive Order No. 140 can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eojsc140.htm.

DEP's Implementation Schedule is located on its web site at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/stakeholders/lsp_timeline.pdf

If you have any questions regarding this new legislation, please contact Harry Weiss at 215.864.8129, weiss@ballardspahr.com.

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April 10, 2009
N.J. Bill Designed To Ease Backlog of Contaminated-Site Cleanups


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