The state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced six lawsuits against suspected polluters as part of an initiative to crack down on companies operating in low-income and minority communities throughout the state.
The companies cited have been accused of releasing hazardous materials into the soil and water of their host cities like Newark and Camden, often near residential areas.
“Today’s six enforcement actions are just the latest salvo in our ongoing efforts to stand up for environmental justice and to fight for communities across the state that have been ignored in the past,” said Grewal. .
“Our message to polluters is once again clear: you cannot pollute the state’s air, water, or land and get away with it under our watch. No matter whether a company is releasing hazardous substances into the soil or an individual is maintaining an illegal dump in a residential neighborhood, we will take them to court. That is the kind of environmental commitment that all of our communities deserve.”
The following companies have been cited in what the state has billed an environmental justice campaign:
• 461-491 Fourth Street in Newark (site of the Nanes Metal Finishing Company);
• 723-725 Chestnut Street in Trenton (site of Sainte Marie Dry Cleaners);
• 1474 West State Street in Trenton (site of Schofield Cleaners);
• 260-268 Chestnut Street in Camden (site of significant illegal dumping, according to authorities);
• 34-38 Stover Avenue in Kearny (site of Auto Scrap); and
• 66-68 North Park Street in East Orange (site of Gas Mart).
Authorities say Nanes Metal in Newark released hazardous materials for nearly 30 years beginning in 1966 but did not clean them up. The chemicals include TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCE (perchloroethylene). Exposure to TCE and PCE has been linked to kidney dysfunction, respiratory tract irritation and cognitive and neurological effects, authorities said.
The Nanes and other suits seek civil penalties as well as cleanup of pollutants.
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