On April 24, 2020, Catherine R. McCabe, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection signed a Notice of Rule Modification to extend certain deadlines for remediation appliable to New Jersey contaminated properties.
By way of Executive Order No. 103 (“EO 103”), dated March 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy declared that a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency exists in New Jersey as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Section 6 of EO 103 authorized agency heads to waive, suspend or modify any existing rule, where the enforcement of the rule would be detrimental to the public welfare during the coronavirus emergency. Pursuant to that authority, Commissioner McCabe concluded that the coronavirus emergency may impact the ability of private and public entities to perform important remediation activities regulated by the NJDEP. Therefore, the NJDEP extended certain deadlines for remediation activities by ninety (90) days. In addition, the NJDEP was also given authority to respond on a site- and situation-specific basis for the duration of EO 103, to further extend the timeframes beyond the 90 days to ensure the continued appropriate management of remediation activities, upon the request of the party responsible for conducting site remediation.
Therefore, the Commissioner extended certain deadlines arising in the NJDEP’s Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites, N.J.A.C. 7:26C, and the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26E, subject to certain requirements. It is important to note that the extension applies to only those timeframes that have been and will be reached during the period that EO 103 is in effect. The Commissioner’s notice of modification is retroactive to the start of EO 103 on March 9, 2020; further, EO 103 currently has no set end date. Therefore, certain remedial deadlines from March 9, 2020, until Governor Murphy terminates EO 103, will be extended for at least 90 days.
The deadlines extended include certain mandatory remedial timeframes, expedited site-specific remediation timeframes, regulatory timeframes, and regulatory remedial action timeframes, all of which are listed in detail in the notice.
Please feel free to reach out to one of our environmental attorneys to help you determine whether the deadlines for a remediation project have been extended by the NJDEP’s Notice of Rule Modification.