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New Jersey cleanup law expands owners options.

As part of a package of amendments to New Jersey's landmark Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (ECRA), the state Assembly Policy and Rules Committee has introduced language that allows property owners to use environmental insurance as an alternative funding mechanism for pollution cleanups.

The new options are the first of their kind in any federal or state environmental law.

In addition, professional liability insurance was included as a criteria in evaluating environmental consultants. The Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, is responsible for setting forth criteria to the public in their evaluation of prospective consultants.

According to David M. Rosenberg, executive vice president of Environmental Compliance Services, Inc., who testified before the committee, the new options are important because insurance has now been recognized as a viable option in guaranteeing and funding potential cleanups and protecting the public health and welfare.

"Such policies also secure funding for cost over-runs involved with a cleanup, and provide guarantees for future concerns involving a particular site," stated Rosenberg, whose firm is one of the largest providers of pollution liability insurance in the nation.

Under the original provisions of the law, even if funding was available to address contamination on a particular site, there was rarely a financial guarantee for future concerns. According to Rosenberg, the situation was counterproductive to both business and public interests.

"The insurance provisions under the new amendments provide both business and government with a long-term financial option that helps to guarantee the integrity of the environment," stated Rosenberg. "It is a sound model for the rest of the nation." The amendments to the state law are now scheduled for a full Assembly vote. The bill is also pending final approval by the Senate, which is expected to occur early this summer.
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Title Annotation:state Assembly Policy and Rules Committee introduces new language to Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act allowing property owners to use environmental insurance as funding for pollution cleanups
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 16, 1993
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