Testimony of Lowell Randel on Behalf of the International Association of
Before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee
October 27, 2014
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for holding this hearing regarding S-
2511. I would also like to thank Senator Maddon for his leadership in introducing the bill. My
name is Lowell Randel and I serve as the Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the
International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW). The IARW is comprised of
companies in the third party logistics industry with members across the United States and in
over 70 countries internationally. This includes 29 refrigerated warehouses in the State of New
Jersey representing over 2,000 jobs.
Over 95 percent of refrigerated warehouses in the United States utilize anhydrous ammonia as
their primary refrigerant. Our members overwhelming choose ammonia because it is the most
efficient refrigerant for industrial applications. It is also important to note that ammonia is a
natural refrigerant that poses no global warming potential. The one exception to the
widespread use of ammonia is the State of New Jersey.
The IARW stands in strong support of S-2511. This legislation helps address some of the biggest
issues that our members in New Jersey currently face and removes two major barriers that are
restricting them from expanding their facilities or building new ones, the Toxic Control
Prevention Act and the New Jersey Refrigeration Operator licensing requirements.
The Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA), as it currently applies to ammonia refrigeration
systems in New Jersey, is the most restrictive of its kind in the United States. We estimate that
the initial cost to come into compliance under the TCPA is approximately $32,500 and the
annual cost after that is over $21,000. It is important to note that the TCPA comes on top of
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program (RMP) and the U.S.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management requirements.
Because federal regulations are in place to address the very same hazards as TCPA, there will be
no diminishment in safety to workers or the environment should anhydrous ammonia be
removed from the TCPA.
The second barrier is the New Jersey Refrigeration Operator licensing requirement that
mandates a 24 hour Gold Seal operating engineer. New Jersey is the only state with such
licensing requirements, which place a significant economic burden on facilities using ammonia
as an industrial refrigerant. Requirements for trained Refrigeration Operators in Federal
regulations such as PSM and RMP already ensure that qualified personnel are operating
ammonia refrigeration systems. Additionally, the current requirements do not take into
consideration the increased automation and safety features built into modern ammonia
refrigeration systems. On average, it is estimated that these licensing requirements costs
facilities in New Jersey an additional $40,000 annually.
Combined, the TCPA and operator licensing requirements cost facilities in New Jersey using
anhydrous ammonia over $60,000 more annually than their counterparts in neighboring states.
This puts the State of New Jersey at a definite competitive disadvantage when competing for
jobs and economic growth. This has taken a toll on growth of the refrigerated warehousing
industry in New Jersey, as well as the broader food sector. This has led to growth in
neighboring states, while expansion and construction of new facilities in New Jersey has been
stagnant. For example, according to EPA’s Risk management database, there are currently only
nine facilities with ammonia refrigeration systems in the State of New Jersey (population 8.9
million), while the neighboring county of Lehigh, Pennsylvania (population 355,000) has eight.
When faced with an additional $60,000 in annual compliance costs at the start, New Jersey is
facing an uphill battle for attracting new businesses and jobs.
Removing anhydrous ammonia from the TCPA and operator licensing requirements will not
only make New Jersey more attractive to new facilities considering the state, but help current
facilities stay in New Jersey. Because of the current restrictions on ammonia, most of our
members and others in the food industry are using R-22 as their primary refrigerant. EPA is
aggressively moving to phase out R-22 by 2018 and other synthetic refrigerants will follow. This
is due to the ozone depleting nature and global warming potential of R-22 and other synthetic
refrigerants. Facilities in New Jersey are faced with the difficult and costly decision of how to
transition away from R-22. Should S-2511 be enacted, it would give these facilities a viable
option to convert their systems to ammonia, which is highly efficient and has no global
warming potential and does not deplete the ozone.
In summary, IARW strongly support S-2511 and greatly appreciates the leadership of Senator
Maddon for introducing the legislation. The bill removes major barriers facing members of our
industry and will make New Jersey much more attractive for new facilities to enter the state
and keep those who are already here, all while maintaining the safety of workers and the
Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony today and we stand ready to assist the
Committee as the legislative process moves forward.