6 new environmental cleanup lawsuits filed in NJ

David Madden
October 25, 2019 - 4:04 pm
Illegal dumping in Camden

Office of the Attorney General/Tim Larsen via Flickr

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NEWARK, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey continues its effort of targeting environmental polluters in poor and minority sections of the state. Six new lawsuits have been filed, including one centered on an illegal dump site in Camden.

The announcements were made in Newark by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Catherine McCabe, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Together, they have filed 14 such lawsuits over the last two years covering problem areas across the Garden State.

The Camden site — on Chestnut Avenue near Locust Street in the Bergen Square neighborhood — is targeted for redevelopment. It’s been an eyesore and problem for more than six years. There was partial remediation, but 10,000 cubic yards of demolition debris, metals and fill dirt remain.

The former and current owners of the property are being sued in Camden County Superior Court. Other actions in Trenton, Newark, Kearny and East Orange were also filed by Grewal’s staff.

“What unites all of these lawsuits is that they represent the latest step by this state in advancing environmental justice,” Grewal told reporters at a news conference in Newark. “Everyone — no matter their race, their origin, their socio-economic background — deserves to live in and to work in a healthy and clean environment.

“The DEP’s own Environmental Justice Advisory Council found that minority and lower-income communities in New Jersey face unhealthy and unusually high levels of pollution,” he added.

The local suit has been filed in Camden County Superior Court and names the former owners of the property: William Yocco of Haddonfield and Damon Rocco, who resides in St. Martin in the Virgin Islands. They sold the property last July to Andre Webb of Camden, who is also named as a defendant.