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Ed Spencer on stopping out of state commercial waste imports to Maine. Audio of his July 17th WRFR radio talk.

On July 17th, Ed Spencer of Don’t Waste Maine detailed the struggle to put an end to the importation of wastes from NYC Massachusetts and Connecticut into Maine for landfilling at the state landfill in Old Town,.

LISTEN TO THE RECORDING HERE (34 minute mp3)

 

Advocacy group: Maine crisis in solid waste: Unsorted trash, garbage being sent to state owned landfill, against state policies. TV Coverage

Activists from Don’t Waste Maine spoke on the state’s garbage and trash crisis in Hampden Maine Media Coverage Here and Here and Here

Statement from Don’t Waste Maine

Trash Turmoil: A Crisis in Solid Waste 

The financing of Coastal Resources of Maine (CRM), which runs the Fiberight Waste Processing Facility in Hampden, has fallen through.

CRM has defaulted on its 1.5 million dollar loan to the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), a nonprofit group of 115 Maine cities and towns that have joined together to manage their municipal solid waste (MSW) issues. 

There was an emergency meeting of the MRC on June 5th –  mostly in executive session.

The Fiberight facility is closed down for the month of June, possibly for longer.

CRM’s Fiberight plant was supposed to be a state of the art facility to deal with the processing of Maine’s solid waste.  But  they’ve been unable to sell their three main products processed from waste: briquettes, pulp and bio-gas.  Until recently, these products failed to meet DEP standards. (None of these products meet the definition of recycling which is what Fiberight claimed it would excel in; they are all waste to energy products….. or: a waste of energy).

All 115 municipalities with contracts to send their waste to CRM are now dumping their waste at the state-owned  Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL) in West Old Town or at the Crossroads Landfill in Norridgewock

This runs counter to the Governor’s Executive Order to dispose of waste in a more biologically safe way during the pandemic, and it runs counter to the statutory regulation to dispose of waste according to the solid waste hierarchy, with landfilling at the bottom of the hierarchy.  Sending the waste to PERC waste to energy plant in Orrington for incineration would more closely follow the EO and the solid waste hierarchy.

JRL recently raised its sludge tipping fee from $35 to $55 a ton, and it will go up again in January  another 3%.  As CRM and PERC struggle, Casella is increasing its hold on handling solid waste in our region, raising rates at our state owned (but Casella run) landfill

NOTE The MRC will be having a virtual town hall meeting open to the public on June 17, 2020, at 10:00 A.M, where questions can be asked about the Fiberight facility.

Zoom Virtual Town Hall Meeting You are invited to a Zoom webinar. When: Jun 17, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: MRC Virtual Town Hall  Register in advance for this webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-EVe2xIwRky2XYLYn6ZbDw

Don’t Waste Maine is a coalition of people across Maine advocating for responsible policies that protect the health of communities most at risk from negative impacts of landfill, incinerator, leachate and sludge disposal operations.       dontwasteme.org

 
 
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Maine: Stop importing waste

 

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Boston & New York’s waste dump: Juniper Ridge, Maine.

  Click these for full sized photos

IT IS A SORRY STATE OF AFFAIRS  for the people of the state of Maine when one sees the remnants of our traditional industries wasting away in the  looming shadow of this mountain of refuse.

Already 280 feet high (taller than Mount Megunticook in Camden)  as much as  40 % of that 35 ACRE “land fill” originated well beyond the borders of the State of Maine”: Boston. Hartford. New York City.

Like Mount Megunticook, Juniper Ridge is state-owned. But unlike that Camden Hill, The Juniper Ridge waste mound continues to expand. A permit’s already been granted to to double the footprint of this MONSTER-LANDFILL to 70 ACREs.

At present one out-of-state truckload of waste arrives and is dumped here every half hour. 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday. Ditto for the number of truckfulls of Maine-originated debris and waste arriving here daily

Around three dozen of these 50-foot box trucks travel  200 miles from the border to Juniper Ridge daily – and back for more. That makes 7600 miles of truck travel / truck exhaust EVERY DAY, from MONDAY TO FRIDAY,  YEAR ROUND

Maine’s Juniper Ridge landfill has become a disgraceful monument to both the unwillingness of southern New England and New York to take care of their own construction and demolition waste, and to the shortsighted willingness of the People of Maine to import it and deface their state with it.

 

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LD 401 On Hold – Rules Change Will Have a Hearing

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee of Maines legislature voted unanimously in support of an amendment to LD 401, An Act To Preserve State Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling on February 5th.

At that work session, two amendments to LD 401 were introduced, one by Committee Chair Representative Tucker and one from LD 401 Sponsor Representative Tipping.

As the language of the first amendment was being distributed, ENR Chair Representative Tucker made an Ought to Pass as Amended motion in support of the amendment language. This amendment replaced the bill with language developed from meetings between the Department of Environmental Protection and representatives of ReEnergy and Casella.

A second amendment was introduced by Representative Ryan Tipping, the bill sponsor, which included language developed through meetings with community stakeholders to implement the original goals of the bill. 

The original version of LD 401 proposed to enact measures to ensure accurate tracking of the origin and type of waste materials disposed of in Maine, to discourage landfilling of recyclable materials, to preserve landfill capacity at state-owned facilities for Maine-generated materials, and to ensure the rights of host communities and abutters of waste disposal facilities. 

The amended version of LD 401 adopted by the ENR committee effectively keeps the status quo and fails to address the goals of the original bill, though it would place some minor restrictions on how much waste a processing facility may send to a landfill.

Current law does not have a clear definition of “waste generated within the State,” but includes a provision in Title 28, Section 1310-N that states, “For purposes of this subsection, ‘waste generated within the State’ includes residue and bypass generated by incineration, processing and recycling facilities within the State or waste, whether generated within the State or outside of the State, if it is used for daily cover, frost protection or stability or is generated within 30 miles of the solid waste disposal facililty.”

The amendment removes the Section 1310-N description of Maine-generated waste, and adds a new definition to Title 38, section 1303-C, specifying that waste generated within the State means:

1. Waste initially generated within the State of Maine; and

2. Waste generated by an incineration or recycling facility located within the State, regardless of whether the waste processed by the facility was generated within Maine; and

3. Waste generated by a processing facility located within the State, regardless of whether the waste was initially generated within Maine, if the waste is used for at landfills for daily cover, frost protection, shaping and grading, and other operational or engineering related purposes approved by the DEP; and

4. Waste generated by a processing facility located within the State, regardless of whether the waste was initially generated within Maine, if the waste generated by the facility is only an ancillary results of the processing operations; and

5. Waste residue generated by a processing facility located in the State, regardless of whether the waste processed by the facility was initially generated in Maine, as long as the facility “recycles” at least 50% of the waste materials accepted at the facility through use as boiler fuel, recovery of metals, use in construction, or use in landfills for daily cover, frost protection, shaping and grading, and other operational or engineering related purposes approved by the DEP.

The amendment includes an exception designed for ReEnergy’s Lewiston construction & demolition debris processing facility, reducing from 50% to 15% the amount of material that ReEnergy must “recycle.” 

BUT it also includes an escape clause allowing ReEnergy to get a waiver from the DEP if the company can demonstrate an “unreasonable adverse impact” from complying with the recycling requirements, making the bill almost meaningless in terms of reigning in ReEnergys abuse of the current system

Wno longer support this bill in the present form.  But since the legislature is now out of session, the bill has not come up for a vote, nor is it likely to be voted on if the legislature does reconvene; they will be doing only essential bills. 

Most of the provisions of the bill are also part of our petition for rule changes which we submitted to the DEP on January 13th.  We passed in our petitions to DEP for these rule changes on January 13th. We were required to have 150 signatures; we had over 250.  On March 5th the BEP discussed and approved scheduling our petition for a Public Hearing. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that hearing has been delayed.  As soon as we hear when BEP plans to reschedule the hearing, we will post that date here on our website.

 

BEP’s 4/16/20 meeting agenda & March 5 minutes.

A description of our rule petition, from  the BEP’s March 5. 2020 minutes, which is attached to their  April 16, 2020 agenda

2. Chapter 400 Maine Solid Waste Management Rules, General Provisions / Petition
for Rulemaking (post for public hearing).
Staff: Paula Clark, Director, Division of Solid Waste Management

Ms. Clark introduced the petition for rulemaking which was submitted by Hillary
Lister of Maine Matters pursuant to 5 M.R.S. section 8055. The petition was
signed by 257 persons thereby requiring the Department to initiate rulemaking on
the petition.

The stated purpose of the petition is:
“clarify requirements for Public Benefit Determinations relating to
approval of waste facilities, by ensuring that the definition of “waste
that is generated within the State” accurately describes the sources of
waste materials disposed in the State, and by requiring Public Benefit
Determinations to include consideration of the impacts on health and
welfare, environmental justice and equal protections for communities
where waste facilities operate.”

Ms. Clark provided the Board will a copy of Chapter 400 which indicated where
the amendments requested by the petitioners would be incorporated into the
existing rule. She noted that the rulemaking would be routine technical.
Following discussion, the Board voted (6-0-0-1) on a motion by Robert Duchesne,
seconded by James Parker, to post the petitioners’ proposed amendments to
Chapter 400 for public hearing.  A hearing date was not set.

The vote was taken pursuant to 38 M.R.S. § 341-H, §§ 1304(1), (1-B), (13), (13-
A), § 1310-N(9), and § 1301 et seq.
Board members Mark Draper, Robert Duchesne, Susan Lessard, James
Parker, Steven Pelletier, and Robert Sanford voted to support the motion.
Mark Dubois was absen

 

4/9/2020 BEP confirms delay of out of state waste ban rule petition hearing; opens info & comment link.

Maine DEP  just released the below notice with links to a fact sheet, the draft rule,  a copy of the petition, & the email address to send comments:    Will they post the comments there,  too?   rulecomments.dep@maine.gov   (Their suggested subject line “Comment on Chapter 400  Maine Solid Waste Management Rules”)   They are “accepting written public comments on the draft proposal for the record.”   No comment closure date mentioned.

Agency contact:  Paula Clark  17 State House Station   Augusta, ME 04333-00

_______________________________________________________________________________________

From
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Chapter 400: Maine Solid Waste Management Rules

04/09/2020 11:42 AM EDT

On January 13, 2020, the Department received a citizen petition to initiate rulemaking to amend the Chapter 400: Maine Solid Waste Management Rules to: “clarify requirements for Public Benefit Determinations relating to approval of waste facilities, by ensuring that the definition of “waste that is generated within the State” accurately describes the sources of waste materials disposed in the State, and by requiring Public Benefit Determinations to include consideration of the impacts on health and welfare, environmental justice and equal protections for communities where waste facilities operate.” On March 5 the Board voted to post the proposed changes to public hearing pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 8055.

Due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Board has not yet scheduled a public hearing on this matter but is accepting written public comments on the draft proposal for the record. A public hearing will be scheduled as soon as the situation allows. Additional public notice will be provided in advance of the public hearing as required by the Maine Administrative Procedures Act.

END

 

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Hearing delay. Proposed Rule change limiting Maine landfills to only “waste that is generated within the State” has its public hearing delayed indefinitely

Maine Board of Environmental Protection has ” indefinitely postponed” its planned April 16th public hearing on a petition by Don’t Waste Maine to add three new definitions to state waste rules.

The rules change would add three new definitions to Chapter 400
* “Waste that is generated within the State”
* “Equal Protection,”
* “Environmental Justice”

Why? When construction and demolition debris waste is trucked into Maine from New York City, Hartford, Boston and other metropolitan areas arrives, the best selling bits are scavenged out, then the rest is magically redefined as “Maine waste” and gets taken to a state landfill. The health and safety of the communities around the landfill site are rarely taken into serious consideration

Read the petition HERE

ABOUT THE DEFINITIONS
(1) “Waste that is generated within the State” means waste materials for which the original point of discard is located within the State of Maine.”

(By comparison, the existing rule’s definition of “waste that is generated within the State” includes “…waste whether generated within the State or outside of the State used for daily cover, frost protection or stability in accordance with all applicable rules and licenses;…”)

The existing wording is a very dubious triple decker loophole that lets the wastes pour in: they are only importing megatons of mixed construction and demolition waste to make us _safer_.
1. “Daily cover” is just the last layer of waste dumped then dozered to cover the other waste.
2. Frost protection: no frostbitten rats.
3. “Stability”? How nice: making it bigger and bigger makes the waste mounds stabler and stabler. How much of Old Town can they take up to make these things really really stable?

Two other important definitions will be added by Don’t Waste Maine’s petition.

(2) “Equal Protection,” means protection of all groups of people, regardless of ancestry, class, disability, ethnicity, income, national origin, or religion, from an unfair burden of environmental hazards resulting from waste facility operations.

(3) “Environmental Justice” means the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of ancestry, class, disability, ethnicity, income, national origin, or religion.”

The new rule goes on to say “Environmental justice shall include the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of waste management laws, regulations, and licensing decisions”

Read the petition here: https://tinyurl.com/me-waste-petition

We’ll keep you posted as circumstances change.

 

PFAS Interagency Report to Maine legislature 2/6/20. Audio Part 4 Michael Abbott head of Maine Drinking Water Program, 14min 23 sec, incl Q&A

On February 6, 2020 the Maine Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard from a Michael Abbott of the Maine Drinking Water Program. Listen to Abbott’s PFAS report to Maine Legislature 2/6/20 Pt6 Michael Abbott Drinking Water Prog incl & qa 24min33sec
Abbott is part of a multiagency/stakeholder task force on the historic and current threats to groundwater and to human health from the use of the PFOS/PFAS set of chemicals, and their and their release into the environment in “biosolids” aka sewage sludge.

 
 

PFAS Interagency Report to Maine legislature 2/6/20. Audio. Part 3 Nancy McBrady ME Bureau of Agriculture. 7min

PFAS Interagency Report to Maine legislature 2/6/20. Audio. Pt3
Nancy McBrady Maine Bureau of Agriculture 7min