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. A new state law will limit the amount of demolition debris the company will be able to receive from other states. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

A measure aimed at reducing out-of-state construction demolition debris pouring into Maine, most of it flowing into a Lewiston recycling firm, cleared the Legislature this month and was signed into law Monday by Gov. Janet Mills.

The new law, which takes effect in February, will have a major impact on ReSource Waste Services in Lewiston, a firm that takes in solid waste from Massachusetts demolition work and recycles much of it.

Basically, over the next four years, it strips the company from transforming imported waste into “waste generated in Maine” by funneling it through the Lewiston facility, a loophole in the current law that had allowed the company to flourish but also added considerably to the volume of material sent to a landfill in Old Town.

Lawmakers did approve changes to the bill’s initial language, though, that will make it a bit easier for the company to cope with the restrictions imposed on out-of-state waste, limiting it to no more than what Maine itself produces in a bid to save space in the state-owned Juniper Ridge landfill.

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline hailed lawmakers for their willingness to revise the bill’s original language to help preserve about 40 jobs at the company.

“ReSource does valuable work in the state and provides substantial economic benefit to our city,” Sheline said. “I am pleased that the Legislature has agreed to work together to address the issue of construction waste and pass a bill that protects Lewiston jobs.”

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“This agreement is a textbook example of bipartisanship and the way things should be in Augusta,” the mayor said, praising Sen. Nate Libby, a Lewiston Democrat, and the rest of the city’s delegation along with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Mills’ office “for their input and assistance.”

The bill passed the Senate unanimously and won approval in the House by a 102-25 margin, with every Lewiston legislator favoring it. Two of the opponents in the House were Republicans from Auburn: Bruce Bickford and Laurel Libby.

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

ReSource had been the only firm exempted from stricter standards for recycling, but the new law gradually raises the requirements it faces until 2026 when it will have to follow the same rules as other Maine businesses.

The new law also requires ReSource to meet the “environmental justice” standard for any future additions or expansions to its business, the same as its competitors.

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