Baron personnel recently attended the Air & Waste Management Association North/Central NJ chapter’s 14th Annual Regulatory Update Conference held in Trenton on November 20, 2015. The program addressed changes in policies and regulations for all environmental media.
Ray Papperman provided information on the Office of Dispute Resolution which offers mediation and facilitation services and will entertain any request to resolve a dispute with NJDEP as long as it does not directly challenge a regulation, rule or policy and is not a dispute solely between two or more private parties.
The Office of Dispute Resolution has historically been used in land use issues, however it is now being used across all program areas within DEP. Where parties have agreed to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution, 75% of cases have been resolved in a mutually satisfactory agreement. This office seems to be underutilized by the regulated community outside of the land use area.
Mark Pedersen presented information showing that since the implementation of the LSRP system, there has been a significant reduction in the case backlog of sites in the site remediation program. Almost 20,000 cases have been closed since May 2009 and the current case count is 14,204, which is more than 5,000 cases less than in 2009. The rate of cleanup and readying sites for redevelopment has also increased by almost 50% since the advent of the LSRP system, which allows the department staff to spend more time focusing resources on Immediate Environmental Concern (IEC) cases. A ticketing system similar to that of the solid waste program has been implemented as well.
Ray Bukowski provided information on the recent changes in the organizational structure within Compliance & Enforcement. There are now four divisions within Compliance & Enforcement and there have been substantial changes in reporting structures. Click here for an updated organization chart. Compliance & Enforcement is now allowing facilities to complete Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP) that are not in the same media as the violation occurs in. This is allowing facilities more flexibility in the choice of a project that provides maximum community benefit. A new app has been developed and is available for both IOS and Android to allow all citizens to report illegal dumping in parks and other open spaces. The app is called Don’t Waste Your Open Space.
Peg Hanna spoke about how NJ’s air quality has changed and what the outlook is for the near and relatively near term. NJ is now in attainment with all National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) except for ozone. Ozone will prove to be quite a challenge however given that the state is not in compliance with the 2015 deadline for reaching 75 ppb and now the new 70 ppb deadline is likely to be 2023.
Barry Frasco indicated that department is currently preparing to propose updates to the remediation standards in 2016 and to adopt amendments in 2017 to evaluate the addition of new contaminants and include additional exposure pathways.
Kenneth Ratzman told the group that there should be no more permit delays in the minor source air permit program and the backlog has been significantly reduced in the major source program. The department is reevaluating the Small Emitter General Air Permit (SEGAP) as they believe it is currently very underutilized in NJ. The department is considering requiring emission statements to be submitted entirely through the inline portal as more than 80% are being submitted this way currently. A series of Control Techniques Guidelines for VOC and NOx will be provided for public comment in February. The permit group's biggest challenge continues to be landfills and fumigation required as a result of importation of goods.
Michael Klein provided information on the new Emission Measurements Section containing BTS that is now part of Compliance & Enforcement. The focus of the section continues to be on data quality. He provided assistance in using the electronic reporting tool (ERT) for all protocol and stack test submissions. It was also stated that the 2015 emission statement season may be a “bit rocky” due to the loss of staff during the recent reorganization of the department.
Please contact Suzanne Custons if you are interested in additional information on this topic.