In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we bring you a dynamic session from WasteExpo Together Online 2021, “Practical Justice: Preparing to Comply with NJ’s Environmental Justice Law.”
You will hear from Matt Karmel, attorney at Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, a firm that focuses on sustainability, waste management and recycling.
Here’s a sneak peek into the presentation:
Karmel noted that New Jersey’s environmental justice (EJ) law is regarded as “one of the most groundbreaking because it has mandatory components.” He goes on to explain that the touchstone of the law is the submission of an environmental justice impact statement at a public hearing to assess the environmental impact of a project on its host community. “It has to identify the underlying impacts in that community, determine what the new impacts would be from the project, and then—with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection — determine whether there is a ‘disproportionate’ impact. He further explained the differences related to existing facilities and new facilities.
The bulk of the presentation centers on five key questions:
- Will the requirements of New Jersey’s EJ law apply to your facility?
- If so, when will you be required to comply?
- How can you be prepared to comply?
- What is the impact of compliance on the bottom line?
- When will be able to predict the answers to these questions with certainty?
Karmel advises the audience that, “At the end of the day, if you have a disproportionate impact, you’re going to either have to avoid those or — if you’re a new facility — your permit will be denied unless you can prove a compelling public interest.” He also reminds listeners that the EJ process will take a minimum of 105 days, so planning should occur accordingly.
The remainder of Karmel’s presentation walks through an example of the EJ process related to responding to an RFP for expansion of a solid waste facility—how to think through the potential environmental stressors and how to deal with each.
Wrapping things up, Karmel notes that detailed regulations are due out likely this fall, “ so we may see implementation of this law probably sometime late next year.”
Listen to the full episode here.