ISRI testifies on New Jersey environmental permitting bill

Organization expresses concerns about targeted scrap recycling verbiage in proposed bill.

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The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and its New Jersey Chapter have submitted testimony to the New Jersey Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in opposition to aspects of an “environmental justice” bill that it says “would unintentionally harm recycling innovation and investment in New Jersey.”

ISRI says it “applauds” the intent of the bill as the legislature “seeks to address environmental and public health in overburdened communities.” Without amendments to the bill, however, ISRI New Jersey Chapter President Jarred Dorfman says it could impose “onerous restrictions and costs on recycling facilities that need to renew their [state environmental] 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.”

The association’s testimony continues, “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; and

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, the legislature is creating an impossible situation for the recycling industry in the state.”

As an example of the latter, ISRI points to  New Jersey Senate Bill 2515, which if enacted “establishes recycled content requirements for plastic containers, glass containers, paper carryout bags, reusable carryout bags made of plastic film, and plastic trash bags [and] prohibits sale of polystyrene loose fill packaging.”