NYLPI Advocacy Defeats Efforts to Reverse Important Waste Equity Law

July 29, 2021

Environmental Justice, News, Waste Equity

waste transfer plant jamaica queens

NYLPI joined with coalition partners the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as community partners in the Jamaica neighborhood of Southeast Queens, in opposing a City Council bill that seeks to amend the Waste Equity Law (Local Law 152 of 2018) to let some waste transfer stations in environmental justice communities to once again increase their waste capacity.

Passed in 2018 after more than a decade of advocacy by NYLPI and our partners, the Waste Equity Law reduced the permitted processing capacity – or amount of garbage that a facility can process each day– at waste transfer stations in the most overburdened communities, reducing the impact of those polluting facilities and the many trucks they bring into these neighborhoods. Int. No. 2349-A threatens to undo much of the progress already made under the Waste Equity Law, and to serve the interests of the same exact waste transfer facilities NYLPI just noticed of the intent to sue for violating the federal Clean Water Act. Int. 2349-A was scheduled to be voted out of the Sanitation Committee and then by the entirety of the City Council on July 29. However, after ten days of intensive advocacy by NYLPI, our partners, and the impacted community members, the Speaker pulled the bad legislation from being voted on at the very last minute, cancelling the Sanitation Committee hearing minutes before it was scheduled to commence.

NYLPI’s work for waste equity continues, and will shift to federal court with the impending lawsuit: NYLPI, the NY/NJ Baykeeper and Riverkeeper recently sent American Recycling Management and Regal Recycling Notices of Intent to Sue for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing pollutants to flow directly from their waste facilities into the city’s storm-sewer system, which drains into Jamaica Bay — one of the most important wetlands in New York City.

Access our full memo of opposition here.

Read the Notices of Intent to Sue here, and read more about the lawsuits and the proposed legislation in coverage in The City, City Limits, the NY Post, the Queens Daily Eagle, and the Queens Chronicle. Also, watch NY1 which recently featured our clients protesting the bill undermining of the Waste Equity Law.

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