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Eustace & Mazzeo Bill to Protect New Jersey from Hazardous Substances from Offshore Drilling Released By Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Vince Mazzeo to better protect New Jersey from hazardous substances that enter New Jersey waters from drilling platforms.
The bill (A-4258) provides that any person who discharges a hazardous substance from a drilling platform, or is in any way responsible doing so, that enters the waters of the state, shall be liable – without regard to fault – for cleanup and removal costs.
“Residents and restoring the neighborhoods they live in, if they are affected by hazardous oil practices, must be our first priority,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Our communities will outlast any corporation or company. We must strengthen the law to ensure protection for New Jersey’s communities and its waterways.”
The liability would include damages for injury to, destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of natural resources, including costs of assessing the damage; damages for injury to, or economic losses resulting from, destruction of real or personal property; and damages for loss of profits or impairment of earning capacity due to the injury, destruction, or loss of real or personal property, or natural resources.
In addition, this bill provides that the liability imposed pursuant to this bill would not in any way limit liability that otherwise may be imposed under any other state or federal law.
“There have been many concerns in light of current news about potential offshore drilling and waste management, and who is liable for the dumping of hazardous waste into our waters,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “I’m opposed to offshore drilling, but corporations should also be clear on their responsibility for any damages made during the process of their work. This legislation does just that. It clarifies who would be responsible for the impact of hazardous substances polluting New Jersey’s waters.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.