August 16, 2016
Carrie Meek Gallagher and Jim Pratt

New NYSDEC Regional Director Visits LICA

Carrie Meek Gallagher, the new Regional Director of Region 1 for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), has only been at her position for ten months, but she is quickly getting up to speed on the many issues her agency handles, including several which affect the heavy construction industry.

Ms. Gallagher joined LICA at a recent board meeting to discuss some members' concerns regarding certain regulatory changes which will impact our industry. She explained that as part of their solid waste priority, the DEC is proposing substantial changes to Part 360 regulations which defines and regulates solid waste which includes construction and debris (C&D) materials. She noted that the DEC released proposed changes which were opened to the public for comments. The public comments deadline on this issue has now been extended through September 13, 2016 and Ms. Gallagher urges LICA and its members to submit their comments, in order to ensure that our concerns are taken into consideration. After reviewing all comments, the DEC will put forth revised Part 360 regulations by this spring, which will again be opened for another round of public comments. The DEC is hoping to finalize and adopt final new regulations sometime next summer, although that timeline may be overly optimistic.

Several board members including LICA Chairman Jim Pratt expressed their concerns that the industry as a whole (rather than just those few unscrupulous contractors) will be “over-scrutinized” due to recent illegal dumping scandals like Roberto Clemente Park. They fear over-regulation or overly-broad materials classifications may actually create larger problems, such as excessive materials volume, which is already becoming an issue at many legally licensed/permitted processing facilities. LICA member James Haney stated that incoming asphalt is one of his biggest problems and attributes much of this problem to the extremely low limit of recycled asphalt product (RAP) allowed by NYSDOT and local municipalities for road resurfacing. Haney also pointed out that these same municipalities are some of the largest producers of this asphalt waste. Our members strongly believe the low recycle limits in municipal bid specifications can be safely raised for use in secondary roadways. New York City’s 40% RAP standard was cited as an example.

Michael White, Esq., LICA’s consultant on this matter, said he is hoping the DEC will modify their current definition of “solid waste” in order to have some of the safer materials excluded from that classification, allowing them to be reused and recycled, thereby reducing landfill requirements and eliminating costly and time consuming out-of-area transport fees. White predicts these costs will inevitably be passed onto the municipalities/taxpayers via higher bids which must be submitted to cover such additional fees.

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