The panel was moderated by Dr. Jorge Berkowitz, a consultantwith Langan Engineering and Environmental Services Inc. Berkowitz,who worked with the NJ DEP for nearly a decade, reminded attendeesof the importance of bringing the laws up to date.

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[IMGCAP(2)]"What happens now with site remediation we'll have tolive with for a very long time," he said. For a while, siteremediation was handled by the private sector, with some input byDEP. But then the Kiddie Kollege scandal erupted: A children'sdaycare was found to be on a site previously occupied by a factory.The land was found to be heavily contaminated with mercury. Soonafter, a stakeholder group was formed to propose legislation thatwould change how site remediation was done in New Jersey.

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"We're at a point that's critical," said Berkowitz. "There are alot of changes to be made."

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Irene Kropp, assistant commissioner of the site remediationprogram with the NJ DEP, next took the podium to describe what thestakeholders found. The number one problem was found to be theslow, protracted process, which resulted in a backlog of 20,000cases. To address this issue, the new legislation borrows theLicensed Site Professional program from Massachusetts. LSPs, whichwill be able to render opinions on cases on behalf of the state,will eventually be licensed by New Jersey. Until the licensingprogram can get off the ground, LSPs will be chosen based onexperience.

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The legislation, S1897, also establishes a four-tier system forcase reviews that establishes the level of DEP oversight fordifferent types of cases, who will submit the case report, andwhere the funding for remediation will come from.

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Although the other panelists applauded DEP's attempts to fix thelegislation, they did have some concerns. Andrew Robins, ashareholder with Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, worried that thechanges might make the process even more expensive for developers.He pointed out that the LSPs will have their licenses on the lineevery time they review a case, and so many will play it safe andask developers to take additional, possibly unnecessary remediationsteps.

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Donald Richardson, a senior program manager with BrownfieldPractice Group at Kleinfelder, says that there's a problem withpredictability in the review process and that there needs to bemore certainty for developers. He also called on the state to set ahigh bar when developing a sound set of metrics to judge the issuesthat will inevitably come up on the contaminated sites.

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"I see a lot of change, but we still have a lot of work to do,"Richardson told the audience.

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