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Ironbound Health Rights Advisory Comm'n v. Diamond Shamrock Chem. Co.

Citation: 17 ELR 20887
No. No. A-2793-85T5, 523 A.2d 250/216 N.J. Super. 166, (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div., 03/23/1987)

The court holds that the New Jersey Environmental Rights Act does not authorize citizen suits to compel the state to undertake a discretionary function. Rather, the statute enables a citizen to maintain a suit against a person, including the state, who has violated state pollution control laws. A judicial order compelling an executive agency to perform a discretionary function would violate the separation of powers doctrine expressed in the New Jersey Constitution. The court also holds that the lower court's order requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to implement a medical testing and monitoring program at a dioxin-contaminated site was not a valid exercise of the remedy of mandamus. The DEP Commissioner did not neglect his duties under the Governor's executive order declaring a state of emergency at the site.

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
Richard Engel, Deputy Attorney General
Dept. of Law & Public Safety, 8th Fl., Justice Complex, CN080, Trenton NJ 08625
(609) 292-8740

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Respondents
Michael Gordon
Gordon & Gordon
80 Main St., W. Orange NJ 07052
(201) 736-0094

Before Judges ANTELL, BRODY and LONG.