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Work Sessions on Waste Legislation Thursday, May 2

Work Sessions

Thursday, May 2, 2013 2:30 PM

Cross Building, Room 216, Augusta

Written testimony that was submitted at the Public Hearing on LD 1363, the bill to define Maine waste as waste genereated in Maine, and restore local control, can be seen at: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP0971&snum=126&PID=1456#

Between now and Thursday’s work session it will be important to communicate with committee members, address concerns, and compile source materials for the work session. Contact information for Commitee Members available at: https://dontwasteme.wordpress.com/contact-members-of-the-committee-on-environment-natural-resources/

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LD 1363

An Act to Preserve Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling

Sponsored by Rep. Chipman

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

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP097101.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?PID=1456&snum=126&paper=&paperld=l&ld=1363#

Summary: This bill amends the definition of waste generated in the State by providing that residue and bypass must have been generated from waste that originated in the State to be considered waste generated in the State.

The bill also allows municipalities to enact ordinances with respect to solid waste facilities that contain standards that are stricter than state law.

The bill also imposes a one-year moratorium on the issuance of licenses for expanded landfills. It directs the Department of Environmental Protection to study and identify best practices to reduce the amount of solid waste disposed in landfills, increase recycling of solid waste and generate revenue from recycling for municipalities. The department is required to report its findings to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

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* LD 907

An Act To Encourage Recycling

Sponsored By: Representative STANLEY of Medway

Cosponsored By: Senator JACKSON of Aroostook

Bill text: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP063101.asp 

Public Hearing Testimony: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=907&PID=1456&snum=126# 

Summary:

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to impose a fee of $15 per ton on the disposal of solid waste at solid waste disposal facilities and solid waste processing facilities. The fee is also imposed on the movement of solid waste from one solid waste facility to another solid waste facility. Under the bill, no category of solid waste may be exempted from the fee and the fee must be paid to the State. Revenue from the fee must be distributed as follows.

1. The first priority must be given to providing grants to municipalities for costs related to the fee:

A. For recyclable materials, a municipality may receive grants equal to 1.3 times the fee paid by the municipality for disposal of the recyclable materials;

B. For all other materials, a municipality may receive grants equal to the fee paid by the municipality for disposal of the materials; and

C. The total grants awarded to municipalities may not exceed the total revenue collected from the $15 per ton fee.

2. Revenue in excess of municipal grants must be distributed to school districts. The amount distributed to each school district must be computed by dividing the revenue from the fee in excess of grants to municipalities by the total number of students in prekindergarten to 12th grade in the State and multiplying the quotient by the number of students in the school district.

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* LD 1292

An Act To Minimize the Use of Plastic Bags

Sponsored By: Representative McGOWAN of York

Cosponsored By: Representative BEAVERS of South Berwick; Representative CASSIDY of Lubec; Representative DEVIN of Newcastle; Representative EVANGELOS of Friendship; Representative HARLOW of Portland; Senator JOHNSON of Lincoln; Representative NOON of Sanford; Representative WELSH of Rockport

Bill Text: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP091901.asp

Public Hearing Testimony: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP0919&snum=126&PID=1456# 

Summary: This bill requires a retailer to assess a 10¢ surcharge for a plastic bag designed for one-time use distributed to a customer at the point of retail sale. A retailer retains 2¢ from the surcharge for administrative costs. The revenues from the plastic bag surcharge are credited to the Plastics Recycling Fund administered by the Department of Environmental Protection for the purpose of promoting recycling efforts related to plastics. A retailer may provide recyclable paper bags to bag products at the point of sale. A retailer must provide reusable bags for purchase by a customer.

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Current Events

 

PUBLIC HEARING ON LOCAL CONTROL & OUT-OF-STATE WASTE

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013

Starting at 1:00pm before the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources,

Room 216, Cross Building, Augusta.

LD1363

An Act To Ensure Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling

What the bill would do:

1. Define Maine waste as waste generated in Maine.

2. Require the State to provide information on the source & amount of out-of-state waste dumped in Maine before permitting expansion of landfills.

3. Return Home Rule authority over waste facilities to Maine towns.

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BACKGROUND

In 1989, the Norridgewock landfill collapsed after being overfilled with tons of out-of-state waste.

The dump doubled in size from 12 to 24 acres, poisoning area wells and farmland.

Following the dump collapse, the Maine legislature passed a law that was supposed to prevent more pollution from landfills, encourage recycling, and control the flow of out-of-state waste to Maine.

The law required the closing of small town dumps, and the creation of large, regional landfills.

One of Governor Baldacci’s first acts in office was to create the State-owned JRL regional dump in Old Town.

The contract to operate the JRL dump went to one of the Governor’s biggest donors, Casella Waste Systems.

No Public Hearing was held on the plan.

Promoters promised the dump would accept only Maine waste.

Soon after JRL was approved, Casella successfully lobbied to change the definition of Maine waste.

Maine waste” was redefined to include out-of-state waste

processed” in Maine before being dumped in a landfill.

Casella owns most of the waste processing facilities in the state.

RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS

In 2008, the legislature approved a bill defining landfill gas as “Renewable Energy.”

Ratepayers are now paying a premium to subsidize out-of-state waste imported and dumped in Maine.

HOME RULE

Waste industry lobbyists also succeeded in changing Maine’s law governing Home Rule.

Maine is now one of the only states in the northeast where towns have no home rule authority to control waste facilities in their borders.

The bill has strong bipartisan support from legislators across Maine whose communities host waste operations that are importing out-of-state waste.

Sponsored By: Representative CHIPMAN of Portland

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

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Read the bill at: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP097101.asp

If you can’t attend the Public Hearing you can still help by sending written testimony to:  katie.desfosses@legislature.maine.gov

You can also contact members of the ENR Committee and tell them your thoughts on the bill, especially if a member represents a town where you live or own property.

Contact Members of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Current Events

 

Public Hearing on JRL Dump Tuesday, April 9th

The Maine DEP will be holding a Public Hearing on plans by Casella Waste to import municipal solid waste, that was previously burned in the MERC incinerator, north to be disposed of in the State-owned JRL dump in Old Town.

The Department will hear from Intervenors during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Members of the Public will be allowed to speak on Tuesday starting at 6:30pm.

The hearing will take place at the Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State St. in Augusta.

Written comments can be sent to: Michael Parker, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, 17 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0017 or michael.t.parker@maine.gov.

More information on the hearing at: http://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/juniperridge/documents/Fourth%20Procedural%20Order.pdf

DEP JRL Info site: http://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/juniperridge/

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Current Events

 

Maine Waste Legislation

As of March 24, 2013

All Bills are being handled by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, unless otherwise indicated.

If you can’t attend a Public Hearing, written testimony can be sent to the Clerk of the Committee. If you live in a town represented by a Committee member, you can call or email your Representative or Senator as their constituent and let them know your opinion of the bill.

ENR Committee Members & Contacts at: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/enr.htm

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Thursday, March 28th

1:30 PM

Cross Building, Room 216, State House Complex, Augusta

* LD 694

An Act To Clarify Solid Waste Policy

Bill text: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/SP024301.asp

This bill:

1. Amends the declaration of policy in the laws governing waste management to provide that the Legislature finds that the highest and best use of a state-owned solid waste facility is for those permitted special wastes that cannot be handled by waste reduction, reuse and recycling, which are the preferred methods of waste management; and

2. Provides that a change in the type or volume of waste accepted by a facility requires approval by the Department of Environmental Protection and a public benefit determination.

Sponsored By: Senator CAIN of Penobscot                                     Cosponsored By: Senator BOYLE of Cumberland; Representative DILL of Old Town; Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot; Representative PEAVEY HASKELL of Milford; Representative TIPPING-SPITZ of Orono; Senator YOUNGBLOOD of Penobscot

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

1:00 PM

Cross Building, Room 214

* LD 476

Resolve, Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry To Develop a Policy To Reduce Food Waste in All State-funded Institutions

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP032601.asp

Summary: This resolve requires the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to develop a comprehensive policy to reduce food waste in all state-funded buildings and institutions and to submit a report detailing the policy, together with any recommendations, to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by December 4, 2013.

Sponsored By: Representative HICKMAN of Winthrop                  Cosponsored By: Representative EVANGELOS of Friendship; Representative GRAHAM of North Yarmouth; Representative GUERIN of Glenburn; Representative JORGENSEN of Portland; Representative KUMIEGA of Deer Isle; Representative POULIOT of Augusta; Senator WHITTEMORE of Somerset; Representative WILSON of Augusta

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Work Session

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2:30 PM

Cross Building, Room 216, State House Complex, Augusta.

LD 141

Resolve, Directing the Department of Environmental Protection To Develop Quantitative Odor Management Standards

Current Text: http://mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_126th/billtexts/HP011601.asp

Summary: This bill would create quanitative measurements for odor from septage & wastewater sludge facilities. The bill was submitted in response to major odor problems resulting from septage spraying and lagoon management at the NY owned “We Care Organics/Soil Prepraration Inc” septage and sludge processing facility in Plymouth (that is somehow exempt from paying property taxes.

Sponsored By: Representative FREDETTE of Newport            Cosponsored By: Senator CUSHING of Penobscot
Note: There was a Public Hearing on this bill in February.

Members of the Public are not authorized to speak at work session unless asked for input by committee members, but you can send written testimony up to the time of the work session to the committee clerk at: katie.desfosses@legislature.maine.gov

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Waste Bills not yet released from the Revisor’s office & have no hearings scheduled yet:

* LR 936

An Act To Encourage Recycling

Sponsored by Rep. Stanley of Medway

Summary: This bill would impose fees on Construction & Demolition Debris disposed of in State-owned landfills.

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* LR 1172

An Act To Promote and Enhance State Policy and Preserve and Support Existing Methods of Disposal of Municipal Solid Waste

Sponsored by Sen. Cain of Penobscot

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* LR 1877

An Act To Ensure Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling

Sponsored by: Rep. Chipman of Portland

Summary: This bill is the result of work by local communities working to gain better control of waste facilities, including Lewiston, Auburn, Norridgewock, Old Town, Penobscot Nation, Alton, Lincoln, and Millinocket.

The bill would:

1. Define Maine Waste as waste generated in Maine.

2. Suspend expansion of Maine landfills for one year until the DEP has an up-to-date waste study that addresses the folliwing:

a. What is the origin, destination, quantity, and composition of out-of-state waste being disposed of in Maine landfills.

b. Identify best practices to reduce the amount of solid waste disposed in landfills in the State

c. Idenitfy best practices to increase recycling of solid waste in the State and generate revenue from recycling for municipalities.

3. Restore Home Rule to Maine communities and allow local control over management of waste facilities. (Not to be more lenient than state waste rules and regulations).

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PUBLIC HEARING BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ON CASELLA JRL WASTE ADDITIONS

Wednesday, April 9

Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State St, Augusta

Public Hearing on the State-owned Casella-operated JRL Dump Changes to allow Municipal Solid Waste that was being sent to the Casella’s Biddeford MERC Incinerator. Casella claims the waste would be from Maine sources, but that also is under the current definition of Maine waste being defined as waste processed in Maine. Casella recently received approval to build a “single stream” recycling facility in Lewiston that would be intended to process waste that was being sent to MERC (which was receiving over half of its waste from outside of Maine.)

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on the application by the State of Maine Bureau of General Services and NEWSME Landfill Operations, LLC to amend Department Order #S-20700-WD-N-A in order to accept municipal solid waste from sources within the State of Maine at the Juniper Ridge Landfill as a result of the anticipated closure of the Maine Energy facility in Biddeford.

The hearing will begin on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State Street, Augusta. The hearing will continue on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Governor Hill Mansion. The entire hearing is open to the public. The daytime sessions will be devoted to receiving testimony from the applicant (State of Maine Bureau of General Services and NEWSME Landfill Operations, LLC) and the intervenors: cities of Old Town, Biddeford and Saco; Penobscot Energy Recovery Company; the Municipal Review Committee, Inc.; Old Town Fuel and Fiber; ecomaine; Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp.; and Old Town citizens Ed Spencer, Laura and Harry Sanborn, Wanda and David Lincoln, and Ralph Coffman.

The Department will hold an evening session on Tuesday, April 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Governor Hill Mansion for the purpose of receiving testimony from members of the general public.

Written testimony can be sent to: DEP, Attn: Michael Parker, 17 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0017 or by email at michael.t.parker@maine.gov .

More information on the Casella request at: http://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/juniperridge/index.html

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Current Events

 

Casella’s Record in Alton & Old Town

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

Alton, Maine

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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

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Current Events

 

Biddeford Officials Warn Lewiston Against Casella Waste Contract

On Tuesday, January 8th the Lewiston City Council held a private executive session meeting to discuss a proposed 20 year contract with Casella Waste. Prior to the meeting, Casella submitted a 21-page response to people’s concerns with the company raised at the Council’s work session on December 11th.

Casella’s response raised more questions than it answered. The company’s letter refers a 30-year contract with Lewiston, instead of 20 years. When the discrepancy was brought to attention of the councilors they said it must be a typo.

In response to concerns that Casella is in the business of importing thousands of tons of out-of-state waste, the company states, in boldface type, that “No out of state waste will be transported to Juniper Ridge [State-owned dump in Old Town] because Casella’s operating contract with the State limits disposal at JRL to only waste generated in Maine.” It is true that the contract has that limit, but Casella fails to mention that following the signing of the contract, the company successfully lobbied the state legislature to change the legal definition of Maine waste to any waste processed in Maine. Casella imports over 150,000 tons of out-of-state waste to its KTI processing facility in Lewiston, and “processes” it into “Maine generated” waste, eligible to be dumped at the State landfill. Under the proposed terms of the single-stream contract, Casella’s single-stream operation could take in thousands of tons of waste from out-of-state via KTI for processing. Any waste that couldn’t be recycled would be sent to Auburn’s MMWAC incinerator, with the ash dumped in the Lewiston landfill. Casella would also have the option of sending non-recycled waste to Old Town to be “recycled” as daily cover on the JRL dump.

The contract itself currently contains a large loophole for out-of-state waste, allowing Casella’s KTI to sent out-of-state cardboard, plastic, and other acceptable materials to the proposed single stream recycling facility. Waste that could not be recycled could be burned at Auburn’s MMWAC incinerator, and the ash dumped in Lewiston’s River Rd. landfill.

In response to the question: “Does single stream recycling result in an end product that is less valuable as a commodity than presort recycling?” Casella responds that they market materials at maximum market values. Considering the market price for mixed materials from single stream has fallen through the floor in the past two years, and many municipalities that had switched to single-stream are now switching back to presort recycling due to the lack of market value for single stream products, the company fails to answer whether the single stream product goes for a lower price than presort recycling. Baled mixed paper resulting from single stream currently sells for $30 to $70 a ton.

Clean baled sorted paper and cardboard sells for $100 to $200.

One of the major barriers to creating high-value products from the single stream process come from the fact that glass gets broken and mixed throughout other products. The article “Single Stream Uncovered” in the August 2010 issue of Resource Recycling explains, “[I]t is virtually impossible to prevent glass from breaking as it goes to the curb, is dumped in the truck, gets compacted, gets dumped on the tipping floor…, is repeatedly driven over by forklifts, and is dumped on conveyor belts to be processed.”

In the letter to Lewiston councilors, Casella claims to achieve 100% extraction of glass, which is unheard of for single-stream processors. Casella’s existing single-stream operations separate glass on the processing line using spinning vertical disk conveyors. These conveyors sort out much of the glass, but much of it can still make it into the final baled products, just as small particles.

Worker safety is also threatened by mixing glass in the automated sorting process. In 2009 the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Health and Safety conducted a Health and Safety Assessment of Casella Recycling. MassCOSH surveyed Casella employees who reported that they experienced numerous injuries and health problems associated with their work. Injuries included scratches to eye, cuts by sharp objects such as metal and glass, and eye, throat and skin irritations and respiratory problems following exposure to dust particles from broken glass from crushing machines.

Casella’s letter to councilors claims the company has financial capacity to meet the needs of Lewiston, and highlights company revenues over $480 million. It does not mention the company’s debt load or junk bond status. On December 3rd, Casella replaced its President when shares of the corporation’s stock fell to its lowest price in more than two years. This followed a $9.7 million loss to shareholders, related to paying off debt. Wunderlich Securities analyst Michael Hoffman called the company’s quarterly results “just plain ugly.” As of early 2012 Casella carried over $594 million in adjusted debt – over $100 million more than its revenues – much of which will come due in the next three years.

Casella’s reputation in other Maine towns was the center of discussion during the Public Comment period at the Lewiston Council meeting. At the request of Lewiston resident Dan Gregoire of the community group Don’t Dump on ME, two former Biddeford officials came to speak about their experiences with Casella contracts.

Former Biddeford City Councilor Perry Aberle explained to councilors, “I’m here to caution you to really rethink a 20 year contract. Biddeford signed a 17 year contract, and Casella Waste didn’t hold up to their end of the bargain. …You’re going to regret it, signing into a contract for 20 years. Other City Councilors and other Mayors in the future are going to have to live with that contract.”

Joanne Twomey, Biddeford’s former Mayor and past State Representative also strongly cautioned Lewiston councilors to be careful when dealing with Casella, stating, “I’m here to tell you that for 30 years they never kept a promise,” pointing out that with the closure of MERC, Biddeford is left with “a toxic waste dump, with dioxin, for [the cost of] $6.5 million dollars” on Casella’s old incinerator site.

Lewiston Mayor MacDonald defended Casella, responding, “I have some comments and I can’t let this stand….I had talked to Alan Casavant because he’s on a coalition that I’m on. He stated they had no problems with Casella, and every time he asked them to do something, they did it.

…It almost sounds like what you’re saying is we’re incompetent, that we’re going to be sucked into a contract. We don’t have our dungarees rolled up and we’re not on the farm, and that’s what you’re implying.”

Twomey replied, “I’m not implying you’re incompetent, I’m implying Casella’s incompetent.

…If Alan has said they’ve had no problems, you should call the DEP and ask about the Dioxin that’s still on site.”

Biddeford’s current Mayor and State Representative, Alan Casavant is quoted in Casella’s letter to the council saying, “I was impressed by Casella’s willingness to work with us in good faith.”

His support of Casella is being strongly touted by Lewiston officials as proof of local support for the company in towns where they’ve operated.

Casella and Mayor MacDonald don’t mention that Alan Casavant has received multiple campaign donations from Casella and associates. Casella was one of the top donors to Casavant’s mayoral campaign. In his most recent campaign for legislature, Casavant received major donations from the law firms Casella contracts with to lobby the State legislature. Pierce Atwood, which employs six Casella’s lobbyists, was a major donor. Federle Mahoney, which employs Casella’s seventh lobbyist, was another major donor.

Federle Mahoney created Casella’s failed nonprofit Maine Green Energy Alliance, which was disbanded after investigations into misuse of Public funds. Last year, Casavant was a sponsor and vocal supporter of emergency legislation to turn over complete control of the State’s JRL dump to Casella, which failed to pass, but is expected to return this session.

Other officials from Biddeford have not been nearly so supportive of Casella’s actions. When the company was pushing a 30-year contract to take over Lewiston’s landfill in 2007, Biddeford City Councilor Matthew] Hight said he could not support a plan that encouraged Lewiston to partner with the company. “I don’t see how, in good conscience, I could advocate that given our experiences with Casella here in Biddeford,” he said.

Lewiston City Councilors are expected to vote on the 20 (or 30?) year contract with Casella on Tuesday, January 22nd.

The language of the lease, subject to change, along with informational materials from Casella, is available on the City website as of January 15th at: http://www.ci.lewiston.me.us/index.aspx?NID=570

Coverage in the Sun Journal:

Articles: MMWAC and Casella

City releases draft of Casella lease

Op-Ed: No Need To Rush Casella Contract

Letters to the Editor:

Concerns About Casella

Councilors Should Wait

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Current Events

 

Maine Green Energy Alliance and other Casella Investigations

Casella has come under investigation by Maine’s Government Oversight Committee twice in the three years.

In 2010, the Casella-funded nonprofit Maine Green Energy Alliance was disbanded after the State committee started investigating potential misuse of Federal recovery grants that intended for home insualtion and energy efficiency. Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey said the nonprofit was using green washing as a way to get a “company bailout” of federal stimulus funds for Casella.

MGEA returned $645,000 of the $1 million grant to Efficiency Maine. A significant portion of the grant was used to pay the salary of Casella lobbyist, and former Baldacci chief counsel, Tom Federle, who attempted to divert tens of millions of tax-payer dollars into subsidising expansion of Casella waste operations in Maine.

Source: “Maine Green Energy Alliance –Start-up’s Weak Controls and Informal Practices Created High Risk for Misuse of Funds and Non-compliance with Laws and Regulations,” August 2011 Final Report from the Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability of the Maine State Legislature http://www.maine.gov/legis/opega/GOC/GOC_meetings/Current_handouts/8-22-11/MGEA%20Final%20Report%208-17-11.pdf

In January 2012, a tri-partisan group of 10 legislators submitted a letter to the Government Oversight Committee, requesting that OPEGA do a full review and audit of dealings between the State and Casella. The letter raised major concerns about out-of-state waste, conflicts of interest in awarding of contracts to Casella, changes to contracts without public notification, anti-competitive actions by the company, and misuse of Public funds.

“Opponents question Casella operations in Maine communities,” Twin City Times, Nov 22, 2012

“Government Oversight Committee to discuss landfill again, has concerns about Casella,” Bangor Daily News, June 29, 2012

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Current Events