December 23, 2020

Not without a fight: A curious coalition challenges New Jersey’s PFAS regulations

Emily M. Lamond

The challenge

On October 1, 2020, a group of petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal with the New Jersey Appellate Division, challenging New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) regulations that add two of the more notorious forms of PFAS chemicals—PFOA and PFOS—to several regulatory programs.

The petitioners are comprised of 3M, a PFAS manufacturer; the Landis Sewerage Authority, which operates a wastewater treatment facility; and the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority, which operates a landfill and a wastewater treatment facility; as well as three business and industry interest groups.

The petitioners assert that the regulations, which became effective June 1, 2020, did not comply with the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., and are arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise unreasonable. This may be the first time that regulators will be put to task in court to defend the basis for stringent standards that are expected to be especially expensive for the regulated community to achieve.

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