State Senator Says Sites Jeopardize Quality of Life for Local Residents
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – At a news conference today with Congressman Pallone and local, county and State leaders, Senator Ellen Karcher renewed her support for federal legislation which would give states oversight of proposed trash transfer facilities, which jeopardize the quality of life of local residents and pose as a serious environmental, health and safety threat to communities.
“Whenever a proposed trash transfer site rears its ugly head, the community rightfully rises up to oppose it,” said Senator Karcher, D-Marlboro. “These sites increase truck traffic on local roads, impacting air quality with diesel exhaust emissions and the fumes of decomposing garbage, and contaminated runoff can damage our ground water and foul our pristine open spaces. But despite the fact that these sites are universally panned, local leaders are powerless to stop them from being located in their communities.
“This isn’t a case of ‘not-in-my-backyard’ protests against a temporary landfill,” added Senator Karcher. “These sites shouldn’t be in anybody’s backyards. Placing a holding facility for potentially dangerous building debris in the middle of a residential neighborhood is wrong, and we need to have the power to do something about it.”
Senator Karcher noted that, due to federal deregulation aimed to help the nation’s ailing and aging railway infrastructure, local zoning and State regulation can be superseded whenever developers propose trash transfer facilities along an otherwise-unused rail corridor. Recently, a developer has proposed building a trash transfer facility in Freehold Township, replacing a tract of open space in the municipality with a temporary garbage dump, as construction debris awaits to be transported from building sites to established landfills.
“The proposed trash transfer facility in Freehold Township is in the midst of a large, suburban residential community,” said Senator Karcher. “In a state as densely populated as New Jersey, I know that open space is at a premium. But to lower local property values, harm the local ecosystem, and threaten the health and safety of community residents – there has to be a better way.”
Senator Karcher added that, whenever States have attempted to regulate trash transfer facilities, they have been rebuked by federal courts.
“The courts are bound to interpret the law, however unfair that law may be,” said Senator Karcher. “Congressman Pallone, Senator Lautenberg and Senator Menendez are proposing to change the federal law to restore local oversight on these facilities. I hope that their bill receives wide support in Congress, so that local government officials can be empowered to protect their residents.”
Senator Karcher has sponsored legislation urging the federal government to allow local and state governments to have a say when trash transfer facilities are proposed for their municipalities. SR-14, which would memorialize Congress to enact Congressman Pallone’s legislation, was approved by the Senate in March.
“We’re asking Congress to step up, and realize the needs of local property owners who have to live with the impact of trash transfer sites next door,” said Senator Karcher. “Hopefully, our federal representatives in Washington will show the needed collective wisdom to do what’s right, and give local leaders a chance to bar trash transfer sites from their municipalities.”