Environmental Law

Mandelbaum Barrett PC’s Environmental Law Practice Group offers a full range of environmental and land development services to meet a client’s transactional, regulatory and litigation needs.

Our extensive experience with state and federal laws and regulations allows us to counsel our clients on the best ways for clients to successfully navigate a wide range of environmental matters.

Selling, buying, leasing or financing real estate, whether commercial, industrial or residential, carries with it environmental risks and potential liability. We advise clients on how to avoid, minimize or manage liability under environmental laws in connection with real estate transactions. We coordinate due diligence and environmental site assessments to make sure the client has a clear understanding of the environmental situation. We are adept at finding creative ways to close transactions involving contaminated properties, including assisting clients with the negotiation and purchase of environmental liability insurance.

We have extensive experience at assisting clients with the environmental aspects of business transactions, including the negotiation of sales or purchases of stock or assets and mergers and acquisitions. We work to structure the transactions, and to coordinate due diligence, to best manage the client’s environmental risk and liability.

Environmental cleanups must be performed according to the guidelines set forth in state and federal laws, including the New Jersey Spill Act, the Industrial Site Recovery Act, and the Site Remediation and Reform Act, as well as the Federal Superfund law and various underground storage tank laws. We assist clients in adhering to these regulations, and in helping them to recover, or avoid spending, significant remediation costs. To that end, we are often successful in obtaining Brownfields grants and other funds under federal and state government programs. We also investigate the availability of insurance funds, and pursue payment from insurance companies on behalf of our clients.

We assist our clients in the development of commercial, industrial and residential properties, including such properties that are contaminated by hazardous substances and wastes, by obtaining funding, tax incentives and other benefits under the Brownfields laws and other federal and state programs. We also help clients obtain permits to develop in or near environmentally sensitive areas, including freshwater and coastal wetlands, waterfront or coastal areas, streams, flood plains, the New Jersey Highlands, the Hackensack Meadowlands, the Pinelands and areas subject to riparian claims by the state.

We have substantial experience assisting clients with capping their liability for the cost to clean-up known contamination. This is accomplished by obtaining guaranteed cost cleanup contracts, where an environmental consultant agrees to cap the client’s liability for environmental cleanup costs. We have also assisted many clients with the negotiation of cost-cap environmental insurance, where the insurance company provides coverage for cleanup costs above the agreed-upon capped cost.

Our attorneys have successfully represented current and former owners and operators of land that are involved in disputes over the clean-up of environmental contamination, including some that have resulted in clients recovering millions of dollars of environmental cleanup costs. With our command of the key regulatory, scientific and other issues, we are able to settle many cases without the need for litigation. For those times where litigation cannot be avoided, we use our understanding of remediation techniques, past manufacturing practices, environmental law and insurance law, and apply investigative and litigation strategies to prosecute and defend against environmental claims. Our attorneys have acted as expert witnesses in numerous litigated cases.

We assist in a variety of areas, including underground storage tanks, the acquisition of water and air pollution control permits, the management of solid and hazardous waste, compliance with worker and community right-to-know laws, renewable energy and green buildings.

In addition to representing companies with regard to their commercial and industrial property, we also work with clients whose business activities directly impact the environment, including manufacturing facilities, gasoline service stations, automotive dealerships, dry cleaners, composting and recycling facilities, and transfer stations.

Partner Gordon Duus writes for the New Jersey Law Journal on New Jersey’s Recently Enacted Law Requiring Notices of Flood-Prone Areas in Real Estate Transactions

July 18, 2023

Partner Gordon Duus shares expert analysis on the implementation of a new law in New Jersey for the New Jersey Law Journal. The law mandates the inclusion of flood-prone area notices in real estate transactions. For a comprehensive understanding of this important development, read Partner Duus’ article by clicking here.

Mandelbaum Barrett PC Attorneys Named to Morris & Essex Magazines “Top Lawyers” List

March 6, 2023

Congratulations to 8 Mandelbaum Barrett PC Partners who were named by the magazine on their Top Lawyers 2023 list! The publication, which will appear in print in June 2023, looked at attorneys across more than 30 specialties, using DataJoe Research. They facilitated an online peer-vote process and created a Top Morris & Essex County Lawyer […]

Deal Alert: Team Effort for $120M Real Estate Development Loan

February 16, 2023

We proudly represented a regional bank as the Agent for a 3-bank group in a $120M loan for the purchase of a 300-acre corporate campus from a major pharmaceutical company. It took almost 2 years to complete and is considered a “once in a generation” opportunity by the buyer who has plans to develop the […]

Mandelbaum Barrett PC Strengthens its Environmental Law Capabilities with the Addition of New Member Jeffrey W. Cappola

January 27, 2020

Jeff, who joins us from Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, strengthens the capabilities of our environmental law practice group, which is co-chaired by members Douglas Eilender and Gordon Duus . Widely recognized as a leader in environmental law by Chambers USA , Jeff has more than 25 years of experience guiding New Jersey businesses and real […]

Duus Authors Legal Q&A for on Using Environmental Insurance to Close Real Estate Deals

August 24, 2017

Gordon Duus, Member and Chair of the Firm's Environmental Law Practice Group, recently published a Legal Q&A Two-Part series on entitled "Using Environmental Insurance To Close Real Estate Transactions."

June 2017 Environmental Law Bulletin

June 28, 2017

The Firm's Environmental Law Group has just issued an Environmental Law Bulletin which discusses easements that allow for publicly funded beach protection projects, which can include public access and use. Written by Member Doug Eilender this timely piece shed's light on the NJDEP’s right to use privately owned properties under a perpetual easement for post-Superstorm Sandy beach restoration projects.

September 2016 Environmental Law Bulletin

September 30, 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW BULLETIN September 30, 2016 MANDATORY CESSATION OF PERC DRY CLEANING EQUIPMENT LOCATED IN BUILDINGS WITH RESIDENTIAL USE BY DECEMBER 21, 2020. By: DOUGLAS I. EILENDER, ESQ. Today, the NJDEP issued a compliance advisory reminding the public about the federal regulation that requires all perchloro-ethylene (“PERC”) dry cleaning equipment

U.S. Supreme Court Wetlands Case, Sackett v. EPA, to have Minimal Effect in New Jersey

July 27, 2023

Authored by Gordon C. Duus, Partner & Lee Crutcher, Summer Law Associate. Introduction: In Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court decided a jurisdictional challenge by Michael and Chantel Sackett of an enforcement action by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Sacketts were accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA or […]

Partner Gordon Duus writes for the New Jersey Law Journal on New Jersey’s Recently Enacted Law Requiring Notices of Flood-Prone Areas in Real Estate Transactions

July 18, 2023

Partner Gordon Duus shares expert analysis on the implementation of a new law in New Jersey for the New Jersey Law Journal. The law mandates the inclusion of flood-prone area notices in real estate transactions. For a comprehensive understanding of this important development, read Partner Duus’ article by clicking here.

Implications of the New ASTM Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

February 23, 2023

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently approved a new American Society for Testing & Materials (“ASTM”) Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments Process (“Phase I ESA”), which took effect on February 13, 2023. Although the existing standard, ASTM E1527-13, may still be used, it will be phased out by February 13, […]

Practice Spotlight: Environmental Law

May 9, 2022

Our Environmental Law Practice Group works in tandem with the firm’s Corporate, Real Estate, Trust and Estates, and Banking & Financial Services Practice Groups in all types of transactional matters. These transactions range from stock sale agreements, asset purchase agreements, real estate purchase and sale agreements, leases, ground leases, estate planning as well as financing […]

NJDEP Interim Rule Modification Extends Mandatory Remedial Action Timeframe

February 11, 2021

To supplement our prior Environmental Blog Article on this topic, on February 8, 2021, the newly appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), Shawn M. LaTourette, announced a new Notice of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension (“Interim Rule Modification”), as part of NJDEP’s Executive Order No. 103 Notices (In EO 103, Governor Murphy declared […]

Lenders, Now Is Not The Time To Skimp on Environmental Due Diligence (hint: there never really is)

June 24, 2020

The past few months have been a very challenging time on many different levels. However, one of the themes I am seeing is that lenders are ignoring the tried and true environmental due diligence protocols at a higher rate than I have ever seen before. This is very perplexing. At a minimum, adequate environment due […]

Effect of New Jersey Governor's Executive Order 103 on Remedial Deadlines

April 28, 2020

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 […]

NJDEP Notification Requirements Remain – Despite COVID-19 Concerns

March 26, 2020

Last week the NJDEP issued a Compliance Advisory reminding the regulated community that, despite the COVID-19 concerns, all of the requirements to notify NJDEP remain in effect. The reason for the reminder is so that the regulated community continues to be diligent in their efforts to notify NJDEP in accordance with applicable environmental statutes, rules […]

New Jersey DEP Announces Registration Deadline For Companies Whose Operations Involve Soil and Fill Recyclable Material

February 28, 2020

Businesses conducting soil and fill recyclable material services that do not already possess an A-901 license have until April 20, 2020 to register with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as a first step to comply with a newly enacted licensing law requiring greater oversight of those activities, DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced […]

The New Jersey Cleanup Deadline Is Fast-Approaching

March 14, 2019

New Jersey’s Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”), enacted in March 2009, was intended to “speed up the cleanup process” of environmental contamination cases, and “to allow for quicker case completion.” To achieve this purpose, the SRRA authorized the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to establish mandatory timeframes for all phases of environmental investigations […]

Environmental Tips From An Environmental Attorney

February 8, 2019

Don’t Ignore Construction/Development Related Issues During Your Environmental Due Diligence. Appropriate environmental due diligence on commercial real estate typically consists of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment/ Preliminary Assessment Report (“Ph I/PAR”). This includes a visual site inspection and review of aerial photographs, Sanborn Maps, historical regulatory records and databases. The Phase I/PAR identifies what one would […]

Court Recognizes "Judicial Estoppel" Defense to Spill Act Contribution Claims

February 4, 2019

Recently, in Terranova v. General Electric Pension Trust, __ N.J. Super. __, 2019 WL 149440 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Jan. 4, 2019), the Appellate Division held that the doctrine of “judicial estoppel” is a valid defense to Spill Act contribution claims. Judicial estoppel is an equitable doctrine that prevents a party from asserting a […]

A Tale of Two Tests: Conflict Brewing on Corporate Owner and Officer Personal Liability Under the Spill Act

January 17, 2019

Like its federal counterpart CERCLA, the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (“Spill Act”) imposes strict liability for environmental cleanup costs. But on whom? The legal test used to answer that question has drastic consequences on the potential personal liability of corporate owners and officers. Though New Jersey courts have relied upon the more […]

New Jersey Legislature Considers Proposing Environmental Rights Amendment to State Constitution

January 17, 2019

The New Jersey Legislature is in the process of proposing an Environmental Rights Amendment to the State constitution, based on an existing amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution. Concurrent resolutions, ACR85 and SCR134, are pending before the Assembly and Senate of the State legislature.  The amendment provides that every person has a constitutional right to a clean […]

Personal Liability of Business Executives for the Cost of Environmental Cleanups

January 17, 2019

Recently, in Morris Plains Holding VF, LLC v. Milano French Cleaners, Inc., the New Jersey courts held the sole shareholder of a corporation personally liable for the cost to clean up the property on which his business operated. The defendant operated a dry cleaning business in a shopping center.  When dry cleaning solvents were discovered […]

April 2016 Environmental Law Bulletin

April 15, 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW BULLETIN APRIL 15, 2016 General partners held individually liable due to failure to perform proper environmental due diligence prior to acquisition of property in New Jersey. By: DOUGLAS I. EILENDER, ESQ. A recent Appellate Division case has confirmed that in order for a party buying property in