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Landfill files appeal of closure decision

Advanced Disposal, the company that owns Moretown Landfill, has filed a motion in Vermont's Environmental Court to suspend enforcement of the Agency of Natural Resources' (ANR) decision requiring the landfill to stop accepting waste by April 15.

Advanced Disposal wants to be allowed to continue its operations under its previous ANR certification until its appeal of the state's decision to force closure has been resolved.

On March 14, after many weeks of evaluating the landfill's request to recertify (and keep open) Cells 2 and 3, and after reviewing over 200 public comments about the landfill, the ANR announced its decision to require the landfill to close those cells by April 15.

On March 26, the Moretown Landfill owners advised the Moretown Select Board that the landfill would stop taking residential trash on April 1 and would continue taking contracted and commercial loads of trash until the April 15 deadline.

Advanced Disposal also filed an emergency motion for an expedited hearing. The appeal of the ANR decision was filed on March 29 with the emergency motion for expedited hearing and the motion to suspend enforcement filed April 2.

The April 2 filings request a decision from the court by April 15 as to whether the landfill can continue to accept waste while the appeal in pending.

The filings ask the court to assess the legality of the ANR's decision to order the landfill to cease all waste acceptance operations by April 15, before the Environmental Court makes a final determination as required by Section 814(b) of the Vermont Administrative Procedure Act and to allow the facility to continue operations during the de novo court proceeding.

The landfill, wrote company spokesperson Mary O'Brien, "believes it has a statutory right under 814(b) of VAPA, along with due process rights to continue to operate under its existing cell 3 certification once it filed its appeal to the Environmental Court. ANR has been reviewing the renewal certification application for close to four years and continued to operate the landfill pursuant to its rights under 814(b)."

She noted that once an appeal is filed with the Environmental Court, the landfill's rights to continue to operate under 814(b) remain in effect.

"MLI looks forward to its day in court, which will be its first opportunity to present non-considered facts and testimony associated with the facility," O'Brien added.

Those non-considered facts include spending over a million dollars in infrastructure and operational improvements since last September, ANR's "unsubstantial analysis" of odor complaints, ANR's assessment of groundwater issues plus job layoffs and the lost tipping fees to the town of Moretown to the tune of $500,000 per year.

The Moretown Select Board has been seeking ways for the state to help provide the town with a "soft landing" after the loss of landfill funds and also indicated that the town, as a party to the appeal, will write a letter.

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