CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners were pleased with the public’s attendance and participation in Monday night’s hearing with regards to the landfill proposed for Boggs Township, Clearfield County.
According to previous GANT News reports, 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 DEP “determined the benefits of the proposed application outweigh the known or potential harms.” The DEP said the permit process would proceed with the technical review.
On Monday night, the DEP conducted a public hearing in order to receive input regarding the application by PA Waste prior to the DEP making a decision regarding the new application for the landfill.
On Tuesday Commissioner John A. Sobel, chairman, said the hearing was well-attended by probably 200 people and with 35 people choosing to give testimony. He said the DEP would continue to accept written comments until 4 p.m. Aug. 3
Sobel said that further comments regarding the landfill may be submitted to DEP via postal mail to Lisa Houser, P.E., DEP Waste Management Program, 208 W. Third St., Suite 101, Williamsport, PA 17701, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissioner Tony Scotto said the DEP is a regulatory agency and is following the permit review process. However, he said PA Waste is “all rubbish and promising a bottle of sunshine.”
Scotto said PA Waste will say anything in order to get the permit and he believes that PA Waste will just sell the landfill, a point elaborated on by fellow Commissioner Mark B. McCracken.
McCracken reported on a recent lawsuit filed in Philadelphia County that contained information with regards to the proposed Camp Hope Run landfill. He said in the court paperwork, PA Waste’s plan is to acquire the permits and land and then sell the landfill on the open market.
He said when you consider the benefits being awarded to PA Waste they only come to fruition if the company actually follows through with the construction and management of the landfill for the life of the permit.
“I believe all those benefits, all those considerations that have been given, they should be discounted if not totally eliminated,” McCracken said.
Sobel then said there was some inaccurate testimony given by the waste company’s engineer at the public hearing, which implied that Pennsylvania and the United States were running out of landfill capacity.
Both Sobel and county Solid Waste Authority Director Jodi Brennan said Pennsylvania, including Clearfield County, has plenty of landfill capacity for many years to come. Brennan noted that DEP usually only issues permits for 10 years, but landfills are designed to accept waste for decades.
Solicitor Kim Kesner said the DEP is a regulatory agency but is also held to legislation, along with its own regulations. He said county officials are disappointed that the DEP has allowed PA Waste’s second landfill application to fly through the review process, even though its first application was rejected and the second is just as deficient.
He said PA Waste hasn’t yet indicated where the landfill’s waste will come from, which makes it extremely difficult to even begin to determine the extent of the harms to Clearfield County and its solid waste plan.
He said the county currently has a solid waste plan with landfill operators who have experience and their facilities run effectively. On the other hand, he said PA Waste has never operated a landfill and is just a group of investors.
Kesner said county officials have provided the DEP with substantive information and its objections to the landfill application. He said this is not only because the DEP has the authority to reject it, but also to get the DEP to hold PA Waste to its burden of showing the benefits outweigh the harms.
Currently, Kesner said county officials can’t see how the DEP has possibly carried out its due diligence up to this point in the landfill application review process.