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NJ officials go after polluters in six new lawsuits

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From left, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver, Environmental Commissioner Catherine McCab and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal at one of the formerly polluted sites of the Ironbound section of Newark.
From left, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver, Environmental Commissioner Catherine McCab and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal at one of the formerly polluted sites of the Ironbound section of Newark. - ()

New Jersey is launching environmental lawsuits against dozens of developers, companies and multinational corporations it alleges were involved with at least one of six polluted sites across the state.

Wednesday’s announcement by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver and Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe comes as one of the biggest single-day environmental actions in New Jersey in a decade. The three officials made the announcement in the Ironbound section of Newark, one of the six sites.

Newark and Woodbridge each contain two of the sites, with one each in Warren County and Atlantic City, the state alleged.

Among those named in the suits are Verizon New Jersey Inc., Hess Corp., Citigroup Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and South Jersey Gas Co.

Citigroup and Verizon declined to comment; the other companies contacted by NJBIZ had not returned phone calls at press time.

Grewal didn’t say how much the state might try to recover financially.

New Jersey is seeking two types of damages. The first, called Natural Resource damages, involves harm done to the state’s natural resources. The second, Cost Recovery, seeks compensation for money the state had to spend on cleaning up polluted sites.

“No matter how big you are, no matter how powerful you are, no matter how long you’ve been getting away with it, when you pollute our natural resources in New Jersey, we will make you clean it up, we will make you pay for that cleanup, we will make you pay for the harm you’ve done to our natural resources and we will use your money to restore those damaged resources,” Grewal said.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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