Don’t Waste ME | Community Action Works | Natural Resources Council of Maine news release
A bill to stop filling Maine’s State-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill with out-of-state waste was signed into law yesterday by Governor Janet Mills. LD 1639 will close a loophole in the state’s waste laws that had allowed private corporations to import construction and demolition waste from across New England and dump it in Maine.
“Maine people have spoken clearly and with conviction that they will not be treated as the dumping ground for the Northeast,” said Ed Spencer of Don’t Waste ME, a coalition of Maine people and citizens of the Penobscot Nation that led the campaign to fix the state’s waste laws. “Changes like this are necessary if Maine is to truly lead us on a less wasteful path that diminishes the danger and damage from climate change.”
“This is a massive victory and the culmination of years of organizing by communities directly impacted by the Juniper Ridge Landfill,” said Dana Colihan, the Maine State Director at Community Action Works. “We are thrilled to see the state finally begin to address the injustice this landfill has created.”
“This update to Maine’s waste laws will help make sure that our landfills are managed with the best interests of Maine communities in mind. It will never be okay for companies operating here to exploit Maine’s environment for profit,” said Sarah Nichols, Sustainable Maine Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Maine purchased the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town to reserve the limited capacity for the needs of its residents, but because of the loophole one-third of the waste going into it each year is from surrounding states. In total, more than one million tons of waste generated in other states has been dumped in Juniper Ridge, equivalent to the weight of 10 aircraft carriers. As a result, the landfill is filling faster than anticipated, leaving less room for waste from Maine.
The billion-dollar waste corporation Casella Waste Systems tried unsuccessfully to block the bill because it had long been exploiting the loophole for profit while ignoring concerns from neighboring residents, the Penobscot Nation, and environmental groups. Casella holds the long-term contract to manage the Juniper Ridge Landfill.
LD 1639 was sponsored by Senator Anne Carney of Cumberland.
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