Activists and neighbors of the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town, Maine are calling for an end to the dumping of out-of-state waste there. And they are petitioning the state’s Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to include environmental justice as a factor when considering the public benefit of waste facilities.
In an online hearing Thursday, Old Town resident Ed Spencer said that landfill operator, Casella Waste Systems, is exploiting loopholes in state law to bring in as much as 90 percent of the waste it handles from Massachusetts, where rules on the disposal of construction and demolition debris are tighter.
“We see massive amounts of waste from beyond Maine’s borders, filling our state’s landfill – which was expressly created to allow Maine to restrict just such a waste stream.”
Others testified that the landfill poses a threat to vulnerable communities, including the downstream Penobscot Nation.
Casella representatives, as well as recyclers and haulers who do business with Casella, say the state’s recycling goals would be harmed if the board adopted the ban. And they say the BEP does not have statutory authority to make the proposed change.
The Board could take action sometime this fall.