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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
April 6, 2006

Office of The Attorney General
- Zulima V. Farber, Attorney General
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
- Lisa P. Jackson, Commissioner

 

Peter Aseltine, OAG
609-292-4791
Elaine Makatura, DEP
609-292-2994

 

Attorney General and Environmental Commissioner Announce Suit
to Halt Trash Station in Coastal Zone in Pleasantville

TRENTON – Attorney General Zulima V. Farber and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today that they have filed suit in federal court to halt any further construction or operation of an unauthorized solid waste station in Pleasantville.

The Attorney General filed papers today in U.S. District Court in Camden on behalf of the DEP seeking a preliminary restraining order and further injunctive relief against the companies involved with the solid waste station, Southern Railroad Company of New Jersey, SRNJ Logistics and Magic Disposal, Inc.

The defendants commenced construction and operation of the solid waste station on North Franklin Boulevard in Pleasantville in January in spite of the City of Pleasantville’s rejection of proposals for the station and in clear violation of federal and state laws and regulations governing coastal zones as well as state solid waste laws and regulations.

Construction of the solid waste station began within two weeks after the state obtained a court order against the companies, halting their construction of a similar solid waste station in the Pinelands National Reserve in Mullica Township. The state is seeking to have this case consolidated with the pending suit over the Mullica site.

“These companies continue to act in disregard of the state’s authority to protect public health and the environment from the hazards posed by this type of trash facility,” said Attorney General Farber. “We halted their proposed operation in the Pinelands, but now they have moved into another environmentally sensitive zone without state permission.”

“Once again, we have a company with a record of improperly operating solid waste transfer stations claiming to be a railroad so they don't have to follow New Jersey's environmental regulations,” said DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson. “We will continue to ferret them out wherever they may go.”

The state’s complaint notes that inspections have shown that the building constructed at the solid waste station does not have a drainage system, dust control system or fire suppression system, despite its location within two feet of coastal wetlands. This permits dust and hazardous materials, such as asbestos, to migrate off site through air or water, potentially impacting the surrounding coastal zone.

The defendants have asserted that the solid waste station is not subject to state regulation because federal laws governing railroads and railroad facilities preempt state law with respect to the facility. However, the federal court in the Mullica Township suit rejected the same argument, declaring that the solid waste station proposed there was not a “railroad” facility and therefore not within the scope of preemption by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995.

The Pleasantville trash station is within a coastal zone covered by the New Jersey Coastal Area Facility Review Act (“CAFRA”), which was adopted by the state under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. CAFRA requires development projects in a designated coastal zone to be in compliance with the goals of CAFRA and the Coastal Zone Management Act to “preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance, the resources of the Nation’s coastal zone for this and succeeding generations.”

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