Late last night, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) released guidance confirming that site remediation work may continue under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 122 (EO-122), which shut down all non-essential construction projects as of Friday, April 10 to help prevent community spread of COVID-19.
As anticipated in our blog last week, NJDEP clarifies and specifically states that “construction related to site remediation projects are allowed to continue under EO 122.” In doing so, NJDEP points to language in Section 2 of EO-122, which defines “essential construction projects” to include “(l) Any project that is ordered or contracted for by Federal, State, county, or municipal government, or any project that must be completed to meet a deadline established by the Federal government;” and “(m) Any work on a non-essential construction project that is required to…remediate a site…”
All site remediation work must, however, comply with the social distancing requirements in EO-107 and EO-122. NJDEP states that “all efforts should be made to minimize site activities and to protect staff, contractors, and the general public.” NJDEP acknowledges that on-site staffing decisions will depend on each project’s circumstances but does provide the examples of staggering on-site construction activities and identifying activities that can be postponed.
The guidance also advises LSRPs and others to document all remedial activities conducted during the COVID-19 emergency period. The documentation should especially include explanations for any variations from rules or guidance, including scientific and technical rationales, that detail how the remediation continues to be protective of public health and safety and of the environment.
Lastly, the guidance recommends taking into consideration the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent Interim Guidance on Site Field Work Decisions. Click here for more details on EPA’s guidance for conducting remediation work during the COVID-19 emergency period.
Cole Schotz, P.C.’s Environmental Attorneys are available to discuss any questions you may have about EO-122 or this NJDEP guidance and any potential impact on your business, operations, transactions, or ongoing construction or remediation projects.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.