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Trenton, NJ – After 15 years of work and waiting, the New Jersey Environmental Justice Law (N.J.S.A. 13:1D-157, et seq, signed September 2020), and corresponding rule published in the New Jersey Register today, are now final and put into immediate effect. Clean Water Action, Ironbound Community Corporation, and NJ Environmental Justice Alliance worked tirelessly to get both the law and regulations over the finish line.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) now must not just evaluate the environmental public health impacts of certain polluting facilities, but more importantly, must meaningfully include affected communities in the decision-making process. As stated on the NJDEP website, "New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities." The state will also have the power to set stricter conditions for renewals and expansions of existing facilities.

"When we began to help draft NJ's environmental justice law, we wanted to codify that overburdened communities were able to lift their voices, be heard loud and clear, and get the justice they seek for their communities, families, and health," emphasized Kim Gaddy, Clean Water Action National Environmental Justice Director. "We then fought to make sure that the new rules stuck to the letter of the law's intent – keep the language tight to make sure that not one more drop of pollution can be added to our already overburdened predominantly Black and brown, low-income, and language isolated communities. No one should live like this, and this newly adopted EJ rule is going to help us get the justice and remedies we seek and deserve."

This new rule will consider not just the impacts of the individual polluting facility seeking a permit, but also the other existing burdens or "stressors" on a community, including the cumulative impacts of multiple sources of pollution, adverse social, educational and health outcomes, water quality issues, etc.

"It is our hope that as permit renewals (which occur every 5 years) and expansion requests are considered at existing facilities, the NJDEP will set strict permit conditions requiring these facilities to ratchet down their on-site pollution burdens on the impacted neighborhoods," stated Amy Goldsmith, Clean Water Action New Jersey State Director.

While waiting for the EJ rule to go into effect, NJDEP issued Administrative Order 2021-25 (AO 2021-25, September 2021). It was designed to provide guidance and certainty regarding the Department’s expectations of “meaningful community engagement, a more thorough and complete assessment of facility impacts to environmental and public health stressors, and the implementation of appropriate measures to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.”  Unfortunately, it did not stem the wave of proposals put before the NJDEP and the incredible hardship it placed on already overburdened community groups to respond.

“But respond we did to PVSC gas plant, NJ Transit Grid power plant, Woodbridge gas plant, Covanta expansion in Camden, and more. We are counting on the power of the people and the NJDEP to hang tough against unending pressure to bend to polluters instead of justice,” concluded Ms. Gaddy.


Since the organization’s founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table. Learn more at

Upcoming Meetings

This table is a summary of the most immediate upcoming Environmental Justice meetings and is not representative of all listed sessions. Please review the county list below for past, current, and future sessions along with recordings, notices, and additional resources.




In Person / Virtual 

May 11, 2023 

Elmwood Park 
Bergen County 

Marcal Manufacturing 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 pm)  

April 24, 2023 

Passaic County 

Gaeta Recycling 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 - 8:00 pm)  (English) 
Virtual Public Hearing (6 - 8:00 pm)  (Español) 

April 20, 2023 

Salem County 

Vineland Municipal Electric Utility 
(Title V Modification) 

In Person Public Hearing (6 pm)  

April 18, 2023 

Passaic County 

Recycle City 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 pm)  

April 17, 2023 

Camden County 

Camden Iron & Metal 

In Person Public Hearing (6:30-8:30 pm)  (English) 
In Person Public Hearing (6:30-8:30 pm)  (Español) 

April 13, 2023 

Essex County 

Sims Metal – Newark Facilities 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 pm)  

April 12, 2023 

Mercer County 

Sims Metal – Trenton 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 pm)  

April 10, 2023 

New Brunswick 
Middlesex County 

Saint Peter’s University Hospital 

Virtual Public Hearing (6 - 8 pm)