Step aside COVID-19, New Bedford has a more political health issue to decide. The expansion of Parallel Products in the North End of the city is coming up.

The Finance Committee of the New Bedford City Council met last Thursday to discuss the situation with a city company looking to expand its operations in the New Bedford Industrial Park. Specifically, the councilors were getting an update from the team of lawyers Mayor Jon Mitchell has put together to stop the expansion.

Mark R. Reich from the firm KP Law (formerly Kopelman & Page) gave the council a wide-ranging briefing based on his 25 years of practicing municipal law. He has the unique ability to make the dry subjects of environmental law, local public health regulations, and state permitting interesting even in a remote meeting (full disclosure: I was a selectman in Freetown when the Board hired Kopelman & Page and I had a working relationship with numerous attorneys at the firm in the 1990s).

Parallel Products explains the expansion on their website: "At this new facility, our processes, all of which will be conducted inside, will continue to be focused on the extraction of recyclable materials separated into useable commodities and shipped in and/or out of state for repurposing as post-consumer recycled products. These will include glass, paper fiber, metals, plastics, etc.  Source separated food waste will not be accepted at the facility. Any residual or non-recyclable materials will be minimized, baled, and shipped out of state to licensed landfills and/or incinerators."

The experts explained the state was likely to allow the project to move forward in the process and the real decisions would fall on the members of the New Bedford Board of Health. 

Mayor Jon Mitchell appoints the Board of Health and he wants this project stopped. Stay tuned.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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