The Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 10-3 in favor of an amended version of LD1363, “An Act To Ensure Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling”, at the Thursday, May 2nd committee work session.
The amended version of LD 1363 would enact a one year moratorium on the DEP issuing licenses for landfill expansion in order to make sure the State has time to gather accurate information regarding Maine’s current and future waste capacity needs.
In response to legislation submitted by Senator Emily Cain, the ENR Committee recently voted to create a subcommittee to study Maine’s policies relating to the state’s waste hierarchy, recycling and landfill capacity, and recommend legislation for the next session of the 126th Legislature.
Maine’s waste hierarchy, adopted by the legislature in 1989, places landfilling as the least preferable form of waste disposal, and prioritizes reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy incineration, and only as a last resort, landfilling.
LD 1363 would give the legislature time to develop recommendations to ensure that the state does not unwittingly commit to policies that inventivize landfilling over recycling.
The DEP is scheduled to release a study on Maine’s waste capacity in 2014, a project that was previously handled by the State Planning Office. LD1363 would allow time for the DEP to study Maine’s waste capacity needs.
Last year a letter signed by ten legislators was sent to the Government Oversight Committee requesting that OPEGA to review and audit operations of the State-owned JRL landfill in Old Town.
Following several meetings and many more letters and presentations to the GOC on the matter, the committee voted to report on the matter to the ENR Committee at the beginning of the 126th session.
GOC member Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, suggested the best way to address concerns raised in the request would be to have a legislative bill that would change the definition of out-of-state waste and resolve concerns about the origins of waste going into Maine’s landfill.
The original version of LD1363 directly addressed the definition of out-of-state waste, by defining Maine waste as waste generated in Maine. Currently, waste processed in Maine is defined as Maine waste, and eligible for disposal in the state-owned JRL landfill in Old Town.
LD1363 would give the state time to develop sound policies to ensure that Maine landfills will not lose capacity for Maine waste due to being filled with waste originating from other states and provinces.
LD 1363 was amended to remove all sections of the bill except the moratorium, reading:
Moratorium on licenses to expand solid waste disposal facilities notwithstanding the provisions of the Maine Revised Statutes Title 1 Section 302. The Department of Environmental Protection may not issue a license for an expanded solid waste disposal facility that is a landfill until April 30, 2014. This Section applies to any application for an expanded solid waste disposal facility that is a landfill filed after the effective date of this act. For the purpose of this section, the term expanded means the same as the word expanded as defined in Chapter 400 of the Department of Environmental Protection’s solid waste management rules that are in effect on the effective date of this act. This section does not apply to generator owned landfills.
The following ENR Committee members voted Ought To Pass As Amended on LD1363 at the May 2nd Work Session:
Senator Geoffrey M. Gratwick (D-Penobscot); Representative Bernard L. A. Ayotte (R-Caswell); Representative Richard H. Campbell (R-Orrington); Representative Benjamin M. Chipman (I-Portland); Representative Janice E. Cooper (D-Yarmouth); Representative Gay M. Grant (D-Gardiner); Representative Denise Patricia Harlow (D-Portland); Representative Paul D. McGowan (D-York); Representative Roger E. Reed (R-Carmel); Representative Joan W. Welsh (D-Rockport), Chair
LD 1363 is sponsored by: Representative CHIPMAN of Portland. It is cosponsored by:
Representative CAMPBELL of Orrington; Representative DORNEY of Norridgewock; Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot; Representative GUERIN of Glenburn; Representative LIBBY of Lewiston; Representative MITCHELL of the Penobscot Nation; Senator PATRICK of Oxford; Representative PEAVEY HASKELL of Milford; Senator WHITTEMORE of Somerset
The House and Senate may vote on the bill as early as Tuesday, March 14th.
What you can do:
– Write a Letter to the Editor. Maine media contacts here: https://dontwasteme.wordpress.com/maine-media-contact-send-letters-to-the-editor
– Contact your Representative and Senator if you support LD 1363, “An Act To Ensure Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling.”
– Contact bill sponsors to thank them for support of this important legislation.
Find your Legislators here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm
Find out how to contact your Senator here: