NEWARK, NJ – State officials have filed an environmental lawsuit against a Newark site, accusing it of “posing a threat to residents and natural resources,” authorities said recently.
Seven new actions were filed statewide, according to a joint statement released Friday by the New Jersey attorney general’s office and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).
They include Fast Oil Co. in Newark, prosecutors said. Read the full complaint here.
According to prosecutors:
“The state complaint alleges that Fast Oil Co. is exposing neighbors at 126 Passaic Street in Newark to environmental and public health hazards by failing to comply with DEP orders for an aboveground storage tank of 300,000 gallons The tank is mostly filled with hazardous wastewater, which the company now mixes with cooking oil and ships to a biodiesel supplier without obtaining the required DEP permits. hui, the tank contains silver, barium and 2-butanone (methyl ethyl ketone), all of which are regulated hazardous substances. The substances are known to pose threats to human health, including respiratory problems, skin irritation. lung and throat, muscle weakness and central nervous system problems. Fast Oil did not provide DEP with the required discharge prevention and clean-up plans, and subsequently entered into a Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with DEP requiring DEP to remove all sewage from tank or submit required plans within 120 days. Fast Oil then failed to comply with the ACO, and DEP subsequently discovered the company’s unauthorized wastewater / cooking oil operations. “
“The lawsuit seeks to compel the defendants to empty the tank, repair the containment system surrounding the tank, immediately stop the illegal operations of importing and processing solid waste, and pay civil penalties. The defendants in the Non-Fast Oil cases include Aryeh Weinstein (president of Fast Oil), WAS Terminals (a former site owner) and Eastern Biofuels, LLC (another former site owner). The lawsuit alleges violations of the Spill Act, ISRA and the New Jersey Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA).
In addition to the action in Newark, five more were filed Friday at sites in Camden, Irvington, Jersey City and Somerville. Each of those municipalities is considered “overburdened” under New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Act because they have a significant low-income, minority, and / or English-speaking population, authorities said.
Additional shares were deposited at Pitman and Mays Landing.
Including the lawsuits announced on Friday, the attorney general’s office and the NJ DEP have filed a total of 45 environmental justice cases since 2018. To date, the lawsuits have yielded nearly $ 20 million in judgments. Many cases have resulted in court orders requiring responsible parties to protect public health and the environment by remediating the properties in question.
Such orders are also important from a tax perspective, as they ensure that polluters – not New Jersey taxpayers – bear the cost of cleaning up harmful contamination, state officials said.
“Pollution affects us all, but it does not affect us in the same way,” Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck said.
âLow-income neighborhoods have been disproportionately exposed to environmental damage,â Bruck continued. “And far too often, the communities most affected by this damage have been communities of color. This legacy of environmental injustice is why here in New Jersey the Murphy administration is prioritizing cleaning up the land. environment in these overcrowded neighborhoods. “
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