New Jersey Environmental Updates: Permit Extension Act Registration and Extension of Emergency Remediation Rule

New Jersey Environmental Updates: Permit Extension Act Registration and Extension of Emergency Remediation Rule

This Alert provides an update on (1) the process to extend permits and approvals from a broad range of New Jersey state and local entities that would otherwise expire during the “COVID-19 extension period” and (2) NJDEP’s extension of certain site remediation deadlines by 270 days, based on the unprecedented circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I.  Permit Extension Act of 2020 – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

By notice in the NJ Register (52 N.J.R. 1682(b)) on September 8, 2020, any government approvals eligible for tolling of running periods under the Permit Extension Act of 2020 may now be registered.

The Permit Extension Act of 2020 (the Act), signed by Governor Murphy on July 1, 2020, extends the duration of certain permits, approvals and deadlines due to expire on March 9, 2020, or during the public health emergency (the “COVID-19 extension period”), and further tolls those permits and approvals an additional six months following the conclusion of the COVID-19 extension period, provided the holder of the approval registers the affected approval with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”).

Holders of an applicable permit or approval (including non-NJDEP approvals) can register by submitting information to NJDEP via electronic form available at www.nj.gov/dep/pea2020. Applicants have until October 8, 2020 to register the permit or approval, or the extension granted under the Act will not apply.

II.  NJDEP April 24, 2020 Emergency Remediation Rule – FURTHER EXTENSION

On August 17, 2020, NJDEP issued a Notice of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension, pursuant to Executive Order No. 103, which further extends certain administrative and mandatory timeframes related to the remediation of contaminated sites in New Jersey. This action lengthens the previous 90 day extension of certain timeframes for remediation activities, authorized by NJDEP’s April 24, 2020 Emergency Remediation Rule, for a total of 270 days.

As with the prior extension, this extension applies only to those timeframes specified in the temporary rule that have been and will be reached while the Governor’s Executive Order 103, declaring a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency, remains in effect. The extension generally applies to completion/submission deadlines; timeframes for the mitigation of immediate impacts to human receptors are specifically excluded from extension. It is unclear whether the extension applies to sites that were subject to the Site Remediation Reform Act’s statutory remedial investigation deadline and which have a remedial action timeframe of May 2021.

To the extent a party responsible for conducting remediation requires an additional extension beyond the 270 days granted in the temporary rule or an extension of a timeframe not covered by the temporary rule, NJDEP shall consider such extensions on a case-by-case basis in accordance with procedures in applicable site remediation regulations, including the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:26C, subchapter 3.
 

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