ReEnergy Lewiston, renamed ReSource Waste Services of Lewiston, bottom right, is shown in 2019 on Alfred Plourde Parkway. It is across from the Walmart distribution warehouse. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

A Lewiston recycling firm may lose out if legislators agree with a committee recommendation Monday that would slice deeply into its existing business handling out-of-state construction demolition debris.

The bill, approved on a 11-1 vote by the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, seeks to limit the amount of debris from outside Maine that finds its way to the state’s Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.

Sen. Anne Carney pushed her bill to limit out-of-state construction demolition debris from going into Maine’s Juniper Ridge landfill in Old Town. Screenshot from video

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Anne Carney, a Cape Elizabeth Democrat, said the goal is to preserve the landfill’s capacity to handle waste from Maine.

Almost a third of the material dumped in the landfill comes from other states, particularly Massachusetts, and most of it flows through ReSource Waste Services in Lewiston. It sorts through construction and demolition debris to separate out recyclable material. What it can’t recycle is shipped to the state landfill.

The measure, if approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Janet Mills, would gradually change the rules for the Lewiston firm so it would have until 2026 before it faced the necessity of following the same rules that apply to every other business in Maine.

Sen. Rick Bennett, an Oxford Republican, said the way it is now, Massachusetts is “engaging in environmental colonialism” by imposing stiff rules on using its landfills while shipping material to Maine for disposal.


He said it was time to stop letting Massachusetts get away with it.

“We’re serving Maine people first,” Bennett said.

Sen. Rick Bennett said it’s time for Maine to end “environmental colonialism” by Massachusetts. Screenshot from video

The one committee member who opposed the bill, Rep. Jeff Hanley, a Pittston Republican, said he felt “very uncomfortable” revising the rules in a way that would risk the jobs of about 40 employees at the Lewiston facility.

Rep. James Boyle, a Gorham Democrat, said he remembers the Legislature having the same argument eight years ago.

“It’s almost Groundhog Day,” he said. “Now it’s time to act.”

Carney said many of the workers are temporary ones. She said she hopes they would be able to find other jobs, especially in a business climate where many employers are struggling to fill jobs.


Carney said that much of the construction demolition debris created in Maine is dumped without any recycling of materials. She said she hopes that limiting the tonnage that can go in the landfill to the amount created annually in Maine might spur more recycling of Maine materials, leaving perhaps some room for imported waste.

Sen. Stacy Brenner, a Scarborough Democrat who co-chairs the committee, called the move “an indirect way to raise the rates on Massachusetts” debris that does come to Maine.

It could be “kind of win-win” for recycling efforts, she said.

Rep. Vicki Doudera, a Camden Democrat, said the bill would create a better regional approach to the issue and create a more level playing field for companies involved.

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