ENVIRONMENT

AG files 6 lawsuits against polluters in low-income neighborhoods

BY Briana Vannozzi, Correspondent |

In pursuit of environmental justice, the Attorney General’s Office announced the filing of six lawsuits targeting polluters in minority and low-income neighborhoods across the state Friday. Properties named in the lawsuits are located in East Orange, Newark, Kearny, Camden and Trenton, where there are two.

“Too often the same communities suffer the worst environmental problems and they don’t get the attention that they deserve,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

At the Newark press conference, Grewal was joined by state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe, who called out businesses who make a profit off of neglecting their environmental responsibilities when moving into poorer areas.

McCabe claimed many of the state DEP’s orders under the Christie administation were frequently ignored, making the partnership with Grewal a necessary step forward in the fight for accountability.

All six of the companies named in the suits have already closed up shop and left town to avoid dealing with the state, leaving the residents in the affected neighborhoods to pick up the pieces.

Since Murphy took office in January 2018, the state has filed eight environmental justice lawsuits and another 10 natural resource damage cases. Grewal says the office is prioritizing cases based on a number of factors, including poverty rates and Abbott school districts.

“With these particular actions, not only do we look at the ability to pay, which is a precursor to our filing many of our actions, and especially seeking cost recovery, but it’s also focusing on those communities that have been neglected for far too long,” said Grewal.