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Labor and business groups have filed legal notices challenging the implementation of New Jersey’s environmental justice law that denies or would impose conditions on permits for facilities that the state deems will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities.

The Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 (ELEC 825) filed a notice of appeal in the Appellate Division of Superior Court on June 1 against the state Department of Environmental Protection. DEP adopted the rule in April without any of the substantive changes recommended by the business community.

Mike Makarski, a spokesperson ELEC 825, told Politico on Monday the rule goes too far.

“We collectively are all for doing things to protect the environment and overburdened communities but we’re also not in favor of overburdening policy, and this is just overreaching that went too far, and there is no other recourse,” Makarski told Politico.

ELEC 825 is one of two organizations that have filed separate legal appeals regarding the rules DEP created to implement the 2020 environmental justice law.  Also appealing the rule is the New Jersey chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

“NJBIA is supportive of these lawsuits that challenge the extreme and unworkable regulations adopted by the DEP,” said NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor. “These regulations are far beyond legislative intent and will only serve to further drive out good paying manufacturing jobs from our state, and, ironically, prevent the expansion of recycling facilities and other environmentally beneficial infrastructure projects.”

Further legal challenges could also be brought by any companies whose permits are denied by the DEP under the new environmental justice rules.