Senator Carson, Representative Tucker, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, my name is Sarah Lakeman and I am the Sustainable Maine Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). I appreciate this opportunity to speak to you in support of LD 401.
For years, NRCM has been bewildered by some of the laws and permits surrounding our State-owned landfill at Juniper Ridge in Old Town (JRL)—and we believe LD 401 accurately identifies and exposes the most troubling issues, which we explain below after providing some context.
In 1989, the State prohibited the development of new commercial solid waste disposal facilities so that Maine would have more control over the importation of out-of-state waste. Since then, the State approved the licensing of three landfills—one being JRL, which the State bought in 2003 to address the solid waste disposal need of Maine residents and businesses. By doing so, the State could prevent out-of-state waste from being landfilled at JRL without violating the commerce clause and have more control over what materials were disposed there—such as prohibiting the landfilling of raw Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).
However, the laws surrounding the use of the landfill, combined with an ambiguous relationship between the State and the landfill operator, has led to mass importation of waste generated out-of-state, much of which is classified as “recycling;” and JRL has accepted up to 81,800 tons of raw MSW per year since 2014. As JRL has been filled with this unintended waste over time, it has contributed to a State-approved landfill expansion permit as well.
Out-of-state Waste Going to JRL
There is problematic language in 38 M.R.S.A. 1310-N (11) that states, in part, “waste generated within the state includes residue and bypass generated within the State or outside the State, if it is used for daily cover”… among other uses. Defining out-of-state waste as in-state waste depending on its use is misleading, and is allowing our State-owned landfill to be the dumping grounds for New England. For instance, in 2013, 88% of the material accepted at the ReEnergy facility in Lewiston was delivered from out-of-state, and after some processing at the facility, ReEnergy then sent 97% of their material to JRL. Then because of this nonsensical definition of in-state waste, NEWSME is able to “verify” that no out-of-state waste entered the landfill in their annual report. We believe that this statute should be amended to define in-state waste as waste originally generated within the state only, regardless of what the final disposition of the waste may be.
Landfilled Waste Classified as “Recycling”
We are greatly troubled that the laws and rules governing waste management in the state define that waste that is being used as an alternative daily cover in landfills is a “beneficial use,” which is then counted toward Maine’s recycling goal. We do not believe that any material that is being buried in our landfills should be considered beneficial or used to pad our recycling rate. And it’s not a small amount of material—about 37% of the total tonnage going into JRL in 2013 counted as alternative daily cover, and therefore “recycling.” NRCM urges the Committee to direct the Department to amend the definition of recycling such that anything in a landfill doesn’t count as recycling.
Unfair Market Advantage for Casella
NRCM believes there is a conflict-of-interest relationship between the Bureau of Governmental Services (BGS) and the operators of the landfill, New England Waste Services of Maine, LLC (NEWSME), which is a subsidiary of Casella. We believe this relationship between BGS and NEWSME contributed to two flawed permitting decisions by the State in recent years:
1) The landfill expansion permit decision in June, 2017, in which the State allowed for doubling the permitted landfill capacity at JRL. NRCM found it inappropriate that BGS and NEWSME jointly applied for the expansion, and were jointly represented by Pierce Atwood attorney Thomas Doyle. By operating as one entity, it suggested that the State would be making decisions based on the best interest of the landfill operator, which profits from waste disposed of in JRL, rather than exclusively in the best interest of the people of the state of Maine; and
2) The extension of a temporary permit approved on March 31, 2018, allowing for up to 81,800 tons of raw MSW to continue going into JRL. NRCM opposed this permit extension because it rewarded Casella for failing to find an alternative home for the waste temporarily “stranded” by the closure of the Biddeford waste-to-energy facility in 2014. This permit further gave Casella haulers an unfair market advantage compared with other waste haulers. Casella was able to side-step the Operating Services Agreement with the State by including in their application for extending their permit that they would have exclusive access to the MSW disposal capacity at JRL. There are other Maine-based private haulers that are exposed to the same disposal capacity issues as Casella, yet they were excluded from access to JRL under the terms of the permit amendment that was approved by the State.
NRCM urges the Committee to examine the relationship between BGS and NEWSME and seek ways to strengthen conflict-of-interest protections in awarding and management and oversight of state waste contracts to prevent price fixing and market manipulation, as proposed by LD 401.
Lack of Protection for People Living in Close Proximity to JRL
NRCM is deeply concerned about the environmental justice surrounding the decisions about JRL, since many people living in the communities surrounding the landfill feel that they have been, and will continue to be, negatively impacted by decisions made by the State. These citizens often struggle to acquire adequate legal standing regarding decisions that impact their health and property.
The 2003 resolve that allowed for the State to purchase JRL stipulated that the City of Old Town and the Town of Alton shall establish a joint citizen advisory committee consisting of seven members, of which five must be from the city of Old Town and two from the town of Alton. It was then amended to include one member from the Penobscot Nation. To the best of my knowledge, this group exists but does not meet regularly and is not formally recognized as a stakeholder in decisions regarding JRL. They have not once been contacted by the State or NEWSME in advance of large changes proposed to which they should be a party. For example, the group was not contacted in 2006 when the OSA was amended to allow residues from fuel derived from out-of-state waste destined for any boiler in Maine to be left at JRL. And in 2007, the Legislature adopted the current problematic definition of Maine waste, and the citizen group was not told about this proposal before or after it was adopted. We urge the Committee to seek ways to ensure that the citizens living around JRL are properly represented and required to be part of any decisions regarding JRL.
Thank you very much for your time and thoughtful consideration of this important bill, I would be happy to work with the Committee on bill language and to answer any questions.
 Total tonnage sent to JRL in 2013 was 606, 254. 37% of that, 225,175 tons, was used as ADC, and 67% of that 152,915 of that was CDD fines.
 The State contemplated the dangers of monopolistic control of state-owned landfill capacity when it entered into the Operating Services Agreement with Casella. Section 2.3.2 specifically addressed the issue: “Casella agrees to operate the Landfill gate and scale house in such a manner, and on such terms so as to provide no price or entry discrimination (consistent with Section 2.11) in favor of its affiliated haulers or otherwise as to disadvantage haulers that are not Affiliates or who do not have business relations with Casella or its Affiliates.”
 It was restricted to Old Town Mill at first