On May 30th, the Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (“FRTR”) announced the availability of 56 new case studies describing treatment in groundwater and drinking water of methyl tertiary butyl
A bipartisan bill that would extend the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by the State pursuant to laws concerning remediation of contaminated sites or the closure of sanitary landfills was signed into law on July 13, 2001. S-2345 and its companion bill A-3328 were introduced in the spring and rapidly moved through both houses, where heated debate resulted in amendments concerning natural resource damages and liability protection for innocent purchasers being added, removed and ultimately reinstated prior to passage.
Under a 1992 law, the State had a 10 year statute of limitations that meant the deadline for such lawsuits would have been December 31, 2001 for any cases accruing before 1992. The approved legislation provides that such a cause of action shall not be deemed to have accrued prior to January 1, 2002 or until the contaminated site has been remediated or the landfill has been closed, whichever is later, and any such civil action must be commenced by the State within three years after the cause of action shall have accrued.
Additionally, the bill establishes a separate statue of limitations for civil actions brought by the State for the payment of compensation for damage to, or loss of, natural resources due to the discharge of a hazardous substance, pursuant to the State's environmental laws. The civil action must be commenced by the State no more than four years after the cause of action accrues. The cause of action would not accrue prior to January 1, 2002 or until the performance of the preliminary assessment, site investigation and remedial investigation, if ncescessary, of the contaminated site or landfill, whichever is later.
As an incentive to developers to reuse contaminated sites, the bill also provides a new "innocent purchaser" defense to liability for persons who purchased contaminated property prior to September 14, 1993 and, after appropriate inquiry, did not know the property was contaminated.
The bill becomes effective immediately.