Several people from the Old Town/Alton area have contacted Lewiston City Councilors urging them to take caution before entering into a two-decade contract with Casella.
Letter from Landfill Advisory Committee Member Dana Snowman
To Whom It May Concern;
I understand you are considering a long-term recyclable waste materials processing enterprise in Lewiston.
I am a member of the Juniper Ridge Landfill Advisory Committee created by the state legislature.
I have witnessed and will attest to systematic/methodical fraud and collusion committed by state officials and ‘Casella’ with respect to operations, etc. at the state dump in Old Town.
My experience is that the waste system in our beloved state is controlled by some very, VERY bad actors! They employ swarms of shrewd and cutthroat lawyers, lobbyists, state officials etc. and there is a long record of deceit and abuse directed at Maine(rs). And I suspect that ‘behind the curtain’ it is much worse.
Best wishes and thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Dana C. Snowman
From Alton resident Ed Spencer
To whom it may concern,
I understand the City of Lewiston is considering entering into a long-term agreement with Casella who wants to site a recycling center locally. From my perspective as an Old Town citizen who has become familiar with Casella’s operations since 2003 when they became operator of the state-owned landfill in our town, you should be very careful in dealing with them.
Casella is one of those outfits that does a great job of PR until they get their foot in the door, and then you may find that you signed the contract in ink but they used a pencil.
In 2003 the State issued an RFP for landfill operator; Casella was the only one who applied. After they were awarded the contract, they failed to post the $50 million bond which was one condition of the RFP. The Baldacci administration, to their great discredit, let them keep the contract without rebidding. Another condition of the RFP was that the operator would follow the State Waste Hierarchy, which is to first reduce, then reuse, recycle, compost, incinerate, and as only a last option, landfill.
Now they want to take all the curbside garbage from southern Maine that used to fuel their MERC incinerator in Biddeford and put it in the State Dump in Old Town.
Casella signed a Host Community Agreement with Old Town that said that only byproducts from fuel for the Old Town Mill that originated out of state could end up in the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL) in Old Town. In November 2006, Casella and the State Planning Office signed amendments to the Operating Services Agreement that broke our Host Community Agreement, and allowed for wholesale non-Maine debris to come to JRL. We call these the Secret Amendments because Casella and SPO never told the legislature, the DEP, Old Town, our Landfill Advisory Committee or the Public what had happened. We found out almost two years later.
Casella’s KTI facility in your area in 2010 imported 90% of its waste stream from Massachusetts. Over 90% of its outputs came to JRL, where close to 100,000 tons were classified as “fines for daily cover”, which is exempt from State or local tipping fees. Casella includes this in their “recycled in Maine” total, even though we were told over and over again that by Casella and the State that “There will be no out of State waste in the landfill.”
Casella also appears to be in shaky financial straits. In no way do I want to tell you what to do with your City, but you would be wise to be extremely cautious of entering into any long-term contracts with them.
Protect your citizenry with iron-clad termination clauses.
Respectfully submitted, Ed Spencer