CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners provided an update on the proposed Camp Hope Run landfill for Boggs Township during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
PA Waste LLC is proposing the 5,000 tons per day, double-lined, municipal waste landfill. The proposed landfill and supporting facilities will be located within an 845-acre facility boundary.
The waste disposal limits will encompass about 221 lined acres, with support facilities and buffer areas within the remainder of the overall facility.
The landfill is proposed to be located in Boggs Township, Clearfield County, about seven miles southeast of Clearfield, along the west side of state Route 153.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sent the commissioners correspondence, dated May 3, on its environmental assessment for the proposed landfill.
The DEP evaluated the permit application to determine whether PA Waste LLC demonstrated that the benefits to the public clearly outweigh the known and potential environmental harms.
“The department has determined the benefits of the proposed application outweigh the known or potential harms,” the correspondence stated.
“The permit review process will now proceed with the technical review … the department may perform additional balancing of benefits and harms if additional information should be presented.”
“We were disappointed in the decision by the DEP,” said Commissioner John A. Sobel, chair. “There will still be a public hearing, which has not yet been set.”
The commissioners received similar correspondence from the DEP during PA Waste’s first landfill permit application process several years ago.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said they have been in touch with their special counsel, and he’s drafting a letter to be sent to the DEP expressing disagreement to its environmental assessment.
The county’s major concern has continued to remain the same, he said, and that’s the potential for negative impacts on its solid waste plan.
McCracken continued: “… It still has not been made clear to us where this waste will be coming from that will be placed into this landfill.
“Until all that information is out in the public and part of the consideration, I don’t think they can really assess the harm to our existing solid waste plan and other permitted landfills.”
Solid Waste Authority Director Jodi Brennan added that PA Waste has failed to demonstrate that there’s even a need for the proposed landfill.
She said she’s personally surveyed the surrounding landfills and there’s currently excess capacity. Ultimately, she said PA Waste will just be stealing waste from other facilities.
“Site suitability, need and impacts to our county plan are pretty significant,” Brennan said. “I was very disappointed. We provided very specific, detailed comments in our 60-day review letter.”
“I really expected the department to take a serious, more in-depth review of our concerns … we will have another opportunity with a public meeting.”
Solicitor Kim Kesner said the DEP’s decision “is not a minor issue” and is not the equivalent to some technical deficiencies that can be addressed.
Instead, he believes it’s a “core issue” about whether or not a permit can even be issued. He said it’s a decision you would expect the DEP to elevate to a very high level.
“Their letter confirms that the law is the benefits have to clearly outweigh the harms,” Kesner said.
“Moreover, their regulations state that if a proposed landfill is not included in the county plan, there’s even more increased scrutiny.
“… There’s also a burden on PA Waste to prove there will not be a detrimental effect on our plan … we’re not even talking about the traffic impact, Pennsylvania’s excess capacity, recycling struggles.
“So I am not just disappointed, I am incredulous that the DEP could make this conclusion. The county has set forth material and substantial reasons why this will harm us and DEP didn’t deal with that.”
The commissioners also received correspondence from the DEP, dated May 9, that outlined a number of deficiencies that were brought to the attention of PA Waste.
All correspondence on the proposed Camp Hope Landfill can be found on the DEP’s North-central Regional Office Web site under community information.