PITTSBURGH Recyclers are breathing a sigh of relief after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a scrap metals theft bill, saying punishing metal recyclers is not a solution to the problem.
"Deterring scrap metal theft in New Jersey is a laudable objective. However, I am concerned that significantly increasing record-keeping and reporting requirements on scrap metal businesses will impose substantial expenses and administrative burdens on operators in this state," Christie said in the assembly bill that killed the legislation. "Businesses that abide by the law, especially our states small business community, should not be penalized with overly burdensome requirements."
The bill would have restricted cash payments for scrap metals and created an online tracking system (amm.com, June 26). Both measures would have increased operating costs as more manpower would be needed to comply with the reporting measures.
Recyclers in the state were pleased with the action. "We are relieved, but we do our due diligence already to make sure what comes in is not stolen. This was a little over the top," one recycler said.
A second New Jersey scrapyard executive described the proposal as unfair. "This is a common-sense decision by the governor. We are all for putting a stop to metal theft, but how are we to know if a truckload from a demolition job was actually stolen?" he asked.
The sponsors of the bill were surprised by the decision, which was said to have had bipartisan support. "We need to protect our residents, and it has to be done statewide. We will continue to fight for reforms that make it very difficult for thieves to do business in our state," Rep. Gilbert L. "Whip" Wilson (D., Camden) said.