Local Law 152, commonly referred to by supporters as the “waste equity” law, was signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last summer after years of legislative attempts. Its intention was to reduce the environmental effects of waste transfer activity in three areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens that have the highest concentration of permitted facilities. As of this month, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) now has the authority to reduce capacity at facilities in those areas by as much as 33-50% when permits come up for renewal.

“We are pleased the court upheld this important law. Local Law 152 will bring much-needed relief to some historically overburdened communities in the city,” said DSNY communications director Belinda Mager in a statement to Waste Dive.

The NWRA did not provide comment prior to publication, but many industry operators have long been critical of the city’s methodology and rationale behind Local Law 152.

City analysis did recognize the potential for volume displacement as a result of this law being implemented, outlining a short list of facilities taking both putrescible and non-putrescible waste as among the most financially affected. The lawsuit centered in part around the contention that the city’s required Environmental Assessment Statement hadn’t properly assessed slack capacity in permitted totals, or employment figures, and was generally underestimating the side effects of waste displacement.

In her ruling, Saunders found that assertion “wholly conclusory and unsupported by evidence.” As to negative economic effects, Saunders effectively ruled New York’s duty in this process was to assess environmental outcomes citywide and not for individual businesses.

Some of the transfer station owners expected to see the greatest reductions were parties to this lawsuit and continue to raise concerns about negative financial effects. Their ranks have effectively declined by one because original petitioner Metropolitan Transfer Station Inc. sold its Bronx property to Waste Connections earlier this year. The public giant has not been an active participant in the legal proceedings since.

Along with the de Blasio administration, environmental and labor organizations that joined the city’s case via amicus brief are also celebrating the victory.

“Many of my neighbors have been impacted by poor air quality, compromised street safety due to the high volume of truck traffic and health issues pertaining to waste inequity for decades,” Jen Chantrtanapichate​, founder of Cleanup North Brooklyn, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to the long-overdue relief that the waste equity law will provide our overburdened community with.”

However, based on the contentious nature of local waste politics, an attorney from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (who represented Chantrtanapichate’s group) predicted it may not be over yet.

“Industries tend to be as litigious as it comes, particular when you’re dealing with transformative change like waste equity imposes on the permitting process and like commercial waste zones will impose on the entire commercial waste process in the city,” Melissa Iachan, senior staff attorney, told Waste Dive. “I’d put a lot of money on the fact that they haven’t learned their lesson and they will sue.”