Bill Extending Deadline for Filing Remedial Investigation Passes
On Monday January 13, 2014, both Houses of the Legislature approved Assembly Bill No. 4543 (i.e. the Assembly version of Senate Bill 1035) authorizing an extension of the time for completion of a Remedial Investigation for certain contaminated sites prior to DEP undertaking direct oversight. If signed by the Governor, the bill would allow a 2-year extension of the mandated May 7, 2014 deadline for the completion of pending environmental “remedial investigations.” Given the bipartisan support for the legislation, the Governor’s approval is likely. The Governor has until January 21, 2014 to sign the Bill into law. (If the Governor takes no action it will be considered a “pocket veto” and the bill would need to be re-introduced in the new Legislative Session.)
As reported in our previous firm blog posting, the Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”), N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq, established a May 7, 2014 deadline for completing the remedial investigation for all sites that triggered remediation requirements prior to May 7, 1999. Signing of A4543 into law by the Governor would be significant, as it would, in many cases, avoid the NJDEP’s “direct oversight” of non-complying cases.
Under A4543, to be eligible for an extension a responsible party would submit a certification in a document submitted to NJDEP by a licensed site remediation professional that to all of the following requirements have been met:
- Retention a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) to remediate site;
- Compliance with any mandatory timeframes set forth in SRRA;
- Compliance with requirements addressing “initial receptor evaluations,” “immediate environmental concerns source control reports,” “light non-aqueous phase liquid interim remedial measure reports,” “preliminary assessment reports,” and “site investigation reports;”
- Establishment of a “remediation funding source” if required by law or a “remediation trust fund” for the estimated cost of the remedial investigation if a remediation funding source is not required;
- Payment of all oversight costs not in dispute as of January 13, 2014 as well as all annual fees and surcharges as applicable.
An extension application would need to be submitted to NJDEP by March 7, 2014 and is deemed approved upon receipt by the NJDEP. The NJDEP is authorized to intervene and assume direct oversight if it determines that the above criteria are not continuing to be met. The Bill requires NJDEP to provide notice in the New Jersey Register of all extensions and include the name and location of the site, the basis for the extension, and the length of the extension.
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