ISRI submitted testimony to the New Jersey Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in opposition to a bill, in its current form, that would unintentionally harm recycling innovation and investment in New Jersey as the legislature seeks to address the environmental and public health in overburdened communities.
In his statement, Jarred Dorfman, president of ISRI’s New Jersey Chapter, offered support of the concept of responsible environmental justice legislation, but noted ISRI is concerned that, without amendments, S-232 will harm New Jersey and its recycling goals by imposing onerous restrictions and costs on recycling facilities that need to renew their NJDEP permits or are looking to invest in new, environmentally-friendly equipment, expand operations, or even develop new facilities that incorporate state-of-the-art technology, including for pollution abatement.
Excerpts from the written testimony are as follows:
… This testimony is in response to A-2212 and its Senate companion S-232, requiring the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to evaluate environmental and public health stressors of certain facilities on overburdened communities. ISRI supports the concept of responsible environmental justice legislation, as well as its intended goal of tackling the complex issue of assuring a healthy environment in all communities, including those populated by minority and lower-income groups. However, we have two concerns with this legislation as written that we believe – if not addressed – will undermine its effectiveness if passed:
1. As currently written, both bills are overly broad and would likely have an unintended consequence of making the target communities less attractive for future economic growth.
2. For reasons not provided, the legislation specifically calls out recycling and scrap metal facilities while not citing other common industrial and commercial operations. Most importantly, by targeting recycling while at the same time promoting the growth of recycling through simultaneous efforts in the New Jersey legislature, such as with S-2515, the legislature is creating an impossible situation for the recycling industry in the state.
ISRI applauds the sponsors of this legislation for their vision of an inclusive and clean environment, and we are eager to work with this distinguished body to achieve the goal of protecting the environmental integrity of our communities. …