Thursday, April 17, 2008

The NJ-DEP's newest enforcement powers

Those who fear that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) already has more than enough environmental enforcement clout are advised to skip to some other topic on this blog. The analysis we are about to recommend could ruin your day.

On January 4, 2008, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law the "Environmental Enforcement Enhancement Act" which gives the NJDEP sweeping new enforcement authority under 10 separate environmental statutes.

Three environmental attorneys at the law firm of K&LGates--Dawn M. Monsen, John F. Spinello, and Mary Theresa S. Kenny -- have analyzed the new law and find that it...

"... substantially increases the maximum civil penalties NJDEP may seek, authorizes NJDEP to commence administrative enforcement proceedings and assess administrative penalties, establishes third degree crimes for certain violations, allows NJDEP to recover legal costs and natural resource damages, and record deed notices for certain alleged violations."

They predict that the new authority granted to the DEP by the Act...

"will have the most pronounced effect in the NJDEP’s enforcement of the land use and water resource programs, and may affect pending, as well as new cases commenced by the NJDEP."

The attorneys review the Act's background and purpose, provide a detailed examination of its key provisions and revised penalties, and offer their conclusions as to its likely effects.

You'll find it all in this K&LGates Environmental, Land Use and Natural Resources Alert.

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