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13 N.J.A.R. 416

Environmental Protection, Department of v. Engineered Precision Casting Company, Inc.
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Citation: 13 N.J.A.R. 416
Decision Date: 1989
Synopsis: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued ad- ministrative orders assessing penalties against Engineered Precision Casting (EPC) for violation of the Air Pollution Control Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2c-1 et seq. and regulations at N.J.,4.C. 7:27-5.1 et seq. EPC re- quested a hearing and the matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that on several occasions an acrid odor was emitted by machinery used by EPC. This odor constituted air pollution pursuant to the statute and regulations because it interfered with the enjoyment of fresh air in the residential neighborhood adjacent to EPC. The judge held that the definition of air pollution in the statute and regulations was sufficient even though it did not provide a quantified standard. Ac- cordingly, the judge concluded that EPC violated the Air Pollution Control Act and was liable for civil penalties. In addition, the judge found that DEP was justified in assessing enhanced penalties for offenses beyond the first offense because EPC had been aware of the odor problem for some time and had been warned that it was subject to enhanced penalties. The judge imposed the total amount of penal- ties proposed by DEP. Upon review, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection affirmed this initial decision. The Commissioner noted that a substance causing odor is air pollution within the meaning of the statute. With respect to penalty, the Commissioner agreed that substantial penalties were necessary to deter violations. Enhanced penalties were reasonable in this case because EPC was unacceptably reluctant to quickly end its violations. State of New Jersey 417 Carol A. B!si, Deputy Attorney General, for petitioner (Peter N. Perretti, Jr., Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Terence G. Van Dzura, Esq., for respondent (Edward J. Dolan, attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 7:27-5.1 et seq.