South Camden Citizens v. N.J. Dept. of Environ., No. CIV.A. 01-702.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
Writing for the CourtOrlofsky
Citation145 F.Supp.2d 446
Docket NumberNo. CIV.A. 01-702.
Decision Date19 April 2001
PartiesSOUTH CAMDEN CITIZENS IN ACTION, Geneva Sanders, Pauline Woods, Barbara Pfeiffer, Julita Gilliard, Oscar Lisboa, Shirley Rios, Phyllis Holmes, Gwen Peterson, Latoya Cooper, and Julio Lugo, Plaintiffs, v. NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION and Robert C. Shinn, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, in his official capacity, Defendants, and St. Lawrence Cement Co., L.L.C., Defendant-Intervenor.
145 F.Supp.2d 446
SOUTH CAMDEN CITIZENS IN ACTION, Geneva Sanders, Pauline Woods, Barbara Pfeiffer, Julita Gilliard, Oscar Lisboa, Shirley Rios, Phyllis Holmes, Gwen Peterson, Latoya Cooper, and Julio Lugo, Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION and Robert C. Shinn, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, in his official capacity, Defendants,
and
St. Lawrence Cement Co., L.L.C., Defendant-Intervenor.
No. CIV.A. 01-702.
United States District Court, D. New Jersey.
April 19, 2001.

Page 447

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 448

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 449

Olga D. Pomar, Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc., Camden, NJ, Jerome Balter, Michael Churchill, Philadelphia, PA, Luke W. Cole, San Francisco, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

John J. Farmer, Jr., Attorney General of New Jersey, James M. Murphy, Deputy Attorney General, Trenton, NJ, Attorneys for Defendants, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Robert C. Shinn, Jr., Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Brian S. Montag, Catherine A. Trinkle, Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch, LLP, Morristown, NJ, Attorneys for the Defendant-Intervenor, St. Lawrence Cement Co., L.L.C.

OPINION

ORLOFSKY, District Judge


 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I. Introduction ................................................................................450
                 II. Procedural History ..........................................................................452
                III. Findings Of Fact and Conclusions of Law .....................................................452
                 A. The Parties ............................................................................452
                 B. SLC's Proposed Facility ................................................................453
                 C. SLC's Air Contaminant Emissions and Emissions Controls .................................453
                 D. SLC's Truck Traffic ....................................................................454
                 E. SLC's Permit Application and Construction of the Facility ..............................454
                 F. SLC's Community Outreach and Community Support .........................................455
                 G. Applicable Environmental Standards .....................................................456
                 H. NJDEP's Permitting Process .............................................................457
                 I. Waterfront South .......................................................................458
                 J. The Health of the Community and the Effects of the SLC Facility on
                 Health ...............................................................................460
                 1. Current Health of the Community .....................................................460
                 2. Effects of PM Inhalation ............................................................461
                 3. Effects of Ozone ....................................................................466
                 K. The NJDEP's Evaluation of SLC's Permit Application .....................................468
                 L. Public Comment on the NJDEP's Air Permits for the SLC Facility .........................469
                 M. Jurisdiction ...........................................................................470
                 N. The Governing Legal Standard for Preliminary Injunctive Relief .........................470
                

Page 450

 O. Likelihood of Success on the Merits .....................................................472
                 P. The Existence of a Private Cause of Action Under Section 602 of Title VI ................473
                 Q. Declaratory Judgement on the Requirements of Title VI Implementing
                 Regulations ...........................................................................474
                 R. Title VI Disparate Impact Analysis ......................................................481
                 S. Plaintiffs' Prima Facie Case ............................................................484
                 1. Adverse Impact ......................................................................484
                 2. Disparate Impact ....................................................................491
                 3. Causation ...........................................................................493
                 T. Defendants' Rebuttal Burden .............................................................495
                 U. Irreparable Harm ........................................................................497
                 V. Irreparable Harm to Other Parties, and the Public Interest ..............................500
                 W. Availability of Injunctive Relief .......................................................502
                 X. Waiver of Security ......................................................................503
                 IV. CONCLUSION ..................................................................................505
                

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs' application for preliminary injunctive and declaratory relief presents difficult and novel issues arising under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin by recipients of federal funding. At its heart, this dispute centers around the allegedly racially discriminatory siting of an industrial facility in an impoverished neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey, ninety-one % of whose residents are persons of color.

To understand the nature of the issues presented, I shall set forth a brief summary of the operative facts. Plaintiff, South Camden Citizens In Action ("SCCIA"), is an unincorporated community organization, whose members are residents of a neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey, known as "Waterfront South." The individual Plaintiffs are residents of Waterfront South and members of SCCIA. Defendant, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP"), a New Jersey state agency, is responsible for enforcing the environmental laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey, as well as federal law, where applicable. The NJDEP receives federal funding and is thus obliged to conform its operations to the restrictions imposed by Title VI and the regulations which have been promulgated to implement Title VI. Defendant, Robert C. Shinn, Jr. ("Shinn"), is the Commissioner of the NJDEP. Defendant Intervenor, St. Lawrence Cement Co., L.L.C. ("SLC"), manufactures and distributes cement products. SLC has built and proposes to operate a facility in Waterfront South to grind and process granulated blast furnace slag ("GBFS"). SLC sells the ground GBFS as an additive to portland cement.

SLC's proposed facility will emit certain pollutants into the air. These pollutants will include particulate matter (dust), mercury, lead, manganese, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides and volatile organic compounds. The GBFS will arrive by barge at a Camden port facility. Trucks will then deliver the GBFS to SLC's proposed facility in Waterfront South, a distance of approximately three miles. The GBFS will then be processed and transported back to the port by truck. Annually, there will be approximately 35,000 inbound delivery trucks arriving at SLC's proposed facility and approximately 42,000 outbound truck deliveries departing from the facility. Inbound truck deliveries will occur on about eighty days per year with approximately 500 truck deliveries per day. Outbound truck departures from the SLC facility will occur on approximately

Page 451

225 days per year, with about 200 trucks departing per day. The contemplated truck routes pass through the Waterfront South Community.

The population of Waterfront South is 2,132, forty-one percent of whom are children. Ninety-one percent of the residents of Waterfront South are persons of color. Specifically, sixty-three percent are African-American, twenty-eight percent are Hispanic, and nine percent are non-Hispanic white. The residents of Waterfront South suffer from a disproportionately high rate of asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The Waterfront South neighborhood is already a popular location for the siting of industrial facilities. It contains the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, a sewage treatment plant, the Camden County Resource Recovery facility, a trash-to-steam plant, the Camden Cogen Power Plant, a co-generation plant, and two United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") designated Superfund sites. Four sites within one-half mile of SLC's proposal facility are currently being investigated by the EPA for the possible release of hazardous substances. The NJDEP has also identified fifteen known contaminated sites in the Waterfront South neighborhood.

As described in greater detail in this Court's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law set forth below, the NJDEP granted the necessary air permits to SLC to allow its proposed facility to begin operations. In doing so, the NJDEP considered only whether the facility's emissions would exceed technical emissions standards for specific pollutants, especially dust. Indeed, much of what this case is about is what the NJDEP failed to consider. It did not consider the level of ozone generated by the truck traffic to and from the SLC facility, notwithstanding the fact that the Waterfront South community is not currently in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard ("NAAQS") established by the EPA for ozone levels, nor did it consider the presence of many other pollutants in Waterfront South. It did not consider the pre-existing poor health of the residents of Waterfront South, nor did it consider the cumulative environmental burden already borne by this impoverished community. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the NJDEP failed to consider the racial and ethnic composition of the population of Waterfront South.

At this stage of these proceedings, this Court must resolve the following complex questions: (1) Whether the criteria and methods used by the NJDEP to evaluate air permit applications, namely, its exclusive reliance on EPA emissions maximums, especially the NAAQS for particulate matter ("PM-10"), without...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4 practice notes
  • S. Camden Citizens v. NJ Dept. Envtl. Prot., Nos. 01-2224
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 17, 2001
    ...2001, granting plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. See South Camden Citizens in Action v. N.J. Dep't of Envtl. Prot., 145 F. Supp. 2d 446, 505 (D.N.J. 2001) ("South Camden I"). In reaching its conclusions, the court found that section 602 and its implementing regulations conta......
  • South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep., Civil Action No. 01-702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • April 16, 2003
    ...and largely minority neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey. See South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep't of Envtl. Prot, 145 F.Supp.2d 446 (D.N.J.2001) (Orlofsky, J.) ("SCCIA I"); South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep't Page 490 Envtl. Prot, 145 F.Supp.2d 505 (D.N.J.) (O......
  • South Camden Citizens v. N.J. Dept. of Env. Prot., No. CIV. A. 01-702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • May 10, 2001
    ...See South Camden Citizens in Action ("SCCIA"), et. al. v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et. al., ("SCCIA I"), 145 F.Supp.2d 446 (D.N.J. 2001)(Orlofsky, J.). That determination was based upon the assumption that an implied private right of action existed under § 602 of T......
  • Appl. of Spitzer v. Farrell, 1
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 28, 2002
    ...exist, must be analyzed under SEQRA); see also, South Camden Citizens in Action v New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 145 F. Supp2d 446, 464 (D. N.J. 2001, rev'd on other grounds, 274 F.3d 771 (3d Cir 2001)), characterizing as "disingenuous" New Jersey's failure to analyze PM......
4 cases
  • S. Camden Citizens v. NJ Dept. Envtl. Prot., Nos. 01-2224
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 17, 2001
    ...2001, granting plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. See South Camden Citizens in Action v. N.J. Dep't of Envtl. Prot., 145 F. Supp. 2d 446, 505 (D.N.J. 2001) ("South Camden I"). In reaching its conclusions, the court found that section 602 and its implementing regulations conta......
  • South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep., Civil Action No. 01-702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • April 16, 2003
    ...and largely minority neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey. See South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep't of Envtl. Prot, 145 F.Supp.2d 446 (D.N.J.2001) (Orlofsky, J.) ("SCCIA I"); South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep't Page 490 Envtl. Prot, 145 F.Supp.2d 505 (D.N.J.) (O......
  • South Camden Citizens v. N.J. Dept. of Env. Prot., No. CIV. A. 01-702.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • May 10, 2001
    ...See South Camden Citizens in Action ("SCCIA"), et. al. v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et. al., ("SCCIA I"), 145 F.Supp.2d 446 (D.N.J. 2001)(Orlofsky, J.). That determination was based upon the assumption that an implied private right of action existed under § 602 of T......
  • Appl. of Spitzer v. Farrell, 1
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • May 28, 2002
    ...exist, must be analyzed under SEQRA); see also, South Camden Citizens in Action v New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 145 F. Supp2d 446, 464 (D. N.J. 2001, rev'd on other grounds, 274 F.3d 771 (3d Cir 2001)), characterizing as "disingenuous" New Jersey's failure to analyze PM......
2 books & journal articles
  • Permits and state permit programs
    • United States
    • Introduction to environmental law: cases and materials on water pollution control - 2d Edition
    • July 23, 2017
    ...505, 31 ELR 20675 (D.N.J. 2001), modifying South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep’t of Envtl. Protection (South Camden I) , 145 F. Supp. 2d 446 (D.N.J. 2001). It reasoned that EPA’s regulations created a right not to have a federally funded state program issue air pollution permi......
  • Table of authorities
    • United States
    • Introduction to environmental law: cases and materials on water pollution control - 2d Edition
    • July 23, 2017
    ...505, 31 ELR 20675 (D.N.J. 2001), modifying South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep’t of Envtl. Protection (South Camden I) , 145 F. Supp. 2d 446 (D.N.J. 2001) ......................................... 435 South Camden Citizens in Action v. New Jersey Dep’t of Envtl. Protection (So......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT