LoBiondo Presses for Action on Waste Transfer Facility Loophole
Mullica Township Mayor Kathy Chasey Again Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Critical Issue Affecting Her Community
U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) and Mullica Township Mayor Kathy Chasey today participated in a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Railroads regarding the existing loophole surrounding railroad-owned waste facilities that are protected from certain forms of state and local regulation by the preemptive federal jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Since 1995, a number of disputes concerning the scope of the STB's "facilities" jurisdiction have been brought to the courts and to the agency.
"I understand the concerns our railroads have in reducing the scope of federal preemption, but facilities which pose a threat to our environment and quality of life, such as waste transfer stations, should not go forward without the consent of local residents," said LoBiondo. "I continue to work with members of our delegation on legislation we've introduced to remove the federal preemption of waste transfer facilities. It is critical for this committee to quickly consider and approve legislation to clarify STB's preemption authority."
Mullica Township Mayor Chasey again testified concerning the Township's ongoing fight to prevent such a facility from being established within their boundaries without obtaining the appropriate local and state permits. Appearing before the subcommittee in May 2006, Mayor Chasey returned to Capitol Hill to underscore the importance of the New Jersey members' legislation (H.R. 1248) to the residents of Mullica Township and similar communities across the state.
"With respect to solid waste, we are asking that laws be distributed fairly and without prejudice, that the solid waste industry as a whole be required to operate in an environmentally responsible manner under state and local control," said Mullica Township Mayor Kathy Chasey in her testimony before the subcommittee. "The number of towns that are grappling with this issue are growing daily and the outcry of their residents is becoming louder. I am convinced that the only solution is a legislative one. Give us the tools we need to insure the health and safety of our constituents, the ability to regulate solid waste operations equally on a State and local level."
H.R. 1248 is expected to be offered as an amendment to H.R. 2095, the "Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007," which is to be considered later this week in the House of Representatives. LoBiondo is the only member of the New Jersey delegation seated on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.