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Christie signs bill allowing DEP to grant 2-year extension on site remediation

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Prior to delivering his inaugural address Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to grant a two-year extension to parties responsible for conducting remedial investigations of contaminated sites.

Supported by many in the business and development communities, the new law now extends the looming May 7 deadline by two years. Per a 2009 law, if no extension was granted the DEP would've assumed direct oversight of any site cleanup failing to meet the deadline.

The bill was passed unanimously in both houses on Jan. 13. Last month, it was advanced by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee after receiving the testimony supporting the measure from Mark Pedersen, acting assistant commissioner for the DEP's remediation program.

Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, applauded the signing of the bill and said today in a statement that it "recognizes the efforts being made by those responsible parties making a good-faith effort to remediate their sites in a timely matter, but cannot do so because of circumstances particular to the site that are beyond their control."

"This extension allows sites dealing with more complicated cleanups, off-site access issues and the oversight of multiple government agencies to proceed in a manner that best protects public health and the environment," Bozarth said.

Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber Commerce, added that he felt the extension was a "win-win" for everyone involved.

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