TRENTON – A bill that would put in place recordkeeping and regulatory mechanisms to better keep track of the solid waste and recycling industry in the state is a work in progress, and the Attorney General’s office wants to play a bigger role in crafting it.
The bill, S1351, is sponsored by Sen. Ray Lesniak and was born after a December report from the State Commission of Investigation found some parts of the industry were infiltrated by organized crime.
The legislation called on the Attorney General’s office, among other departments, to help facilitate a recordkeeping process. The bill would require the AG’s office, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Treasury Department to enter into a memorandum of agreement to create an information management system that regulators could use to learn about the various solid waste/recycling industry license and permit holders.
While the Attorney General’s office believes the bill is well-intentioned, it said Lesniak’s bill may be too overreaching, too costly, and may even discourage recycling if companies leave the state.
In a letter by the AG’s Division of Law obtained by State Street Wire, officials said requiring recycling companies to get a license “is not warranted and would seriously harm recycling,” substantially increase the department’s workload, and hurt the state’s chances of having 50 percent of all materials recycled.
“Imposing licensure requirement and high fees on recycles will drive recyclers out of the industry, jeopardizing any further progress to enhancing recycling and meeting the state’s goals,” the letter states.
The office also took issue with the bill’s requirement for the attorney general’s office to handle environmental licenses, instead of the Department of Environmental Protection.
“It may be impractical, and create the appearance of, if not actual, conflicts for the Attorney General, to accept registration, issue license and then defend the issuance of those licenses.”
The bill’s call for requiring the filing of disclosure forms and fingerprints of various types of employees also leans on impracticality.
“There is a high turnover rate among sales persons in particular, which would create a heavy burden on solid waste and recycling companies to continually submit disclosures from these individuals.”
The AG’s Law Division also disagreed with language in the bill that would automatically prohibit individuals from working for New Jersey solid waste companies if they were debarred in other states.
“While reciprocity holds some appeal, a debarment in another state does not necessarily warrant an automatic debarment in New Jersey,” the officials wrote. “The circumstances resulting in debarments in other states are too varied to automatically rely on them as a bar to the New Jersey Industry. ”
In addition, the bill would require the Attorney General to establish a reciprocal information exchange system with New York and other states in the region to share information on the solid waste and recycling industries.
Finally, the bill would require the establishment of a centralized list in the Department of the Treasury of individuals and corporate entities who have been debarred by various State agencies from participation in a number of regulated industries apart from solid waste.
Lesniak declined comment.