PENNSYLVANIA PROPOSED NEW LANDFILL AND SLUDGE LAWS - SEEKING LOCAL CONTROL - CLARION COUNTY OPPOSES LANDFILL EXPANSION AND SLUDGE

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Local garbage and sludge issues surface in Harrisburg
By Tom DiStefano, CLARION NEWS Writer


HARRISBURG - The two most controversial environmental issues in Clarion County at the moment involve municipal waste landfills and the spreading of sewage sludge as fertilizer.

In northern Clarion County , a citizens’ group called RAGE (Residents Against Garbage Expansion) is opposing the expansion of the County Landfill municipal waste disposal facility owned by Allied Waste Industries. Farmington Township has pledged to support RAGE in its efforts.

In southern Clarion County , a citizens’ group called FORWARD (Friends On Ready Watch Against Raw Deals) is battling proposal by ALCOSAN (Allegheny County Sanitary Authority) to spread sewage sludge on several farms. Several municipalities, including Porter, Madison and Licking townships, have adopted ordinances to test sewage sludge for compliance with state regulations.

And in Harrisburg , more than 40 pieces of legislation have been introduced relating to waste disposal and sewage sludge in the 2003-04 legislative session. But none have been adopted and signed into law, and only a few have made it out of the committee they were initially referred to.

The legislature is now in recess and is scheduled to return to session in late September.

Most environmental bills end up in the House or Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committee (HERE or SERE). Like other legislative committees, the chairman or chairwoman holds the key to whether the bill is referred out of the committee to the full House or Senate for consideration.

Local State Sen. Mary Jo White (R-21) chairs the SERE. State Rep. William F. Adolph Jr. (R-165, Delaware County ) chairs the HERE.

Here are some of the more relevant and interesting bills now pending in the legislature.

Sewage Sludge

HB 1144 –authorizes municipalities to test sewage sludge, testing to be paid for by sludge applicators, transporters or users. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (HERE) April 11, 2003 .

SB 773 –establishes the Biosolids Land Application Study Commission to study the spreading of sewage sludge; committee includes department secretaries, legislators, members of various interest groups. Introduced and referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (SERE) June 6, 2003 .

SB 832 –gives municipalities the authority to regulate sewage sludge as long as the regulations are as stringent as state regulations. Introduced and referred to SERE June 24, 2003 .

Landfill tipping fees

SB 189 – requires the DEP to conduct a health risks study before issuing a waste facility permit; requires public hearings before landfill permits are issued; sets tipping fees for host and nearby communities; bars firms with three serious waste regulation violations from applying for new permits for five years. Introduced and referred to the SERE Feb. 5, 2003 .

HB 412 – requires a negotiated tipping fee be paid to municipalities bordering or near a municipality where a landfill is located; if negotiations between the landfill and the municipalities fail, the DEP will set the fee. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to the HERE Feb. 24, 2003 .

SB 373 – sets a 25-cent fee on each ton of waste deposited in a land fill, with the funds to be used to compensate nearby landowners whose property declines in value and for traffic improvements and safety grants for municipalities near landfills. Introduced and referred to the Senate SERE on March 3, 2003 .

HB 2142 – designates $12.5 million per year from waste disposal fees be used for a Wildlife and Conservation Heritage Account; most of the account will be used by the game commission and fish and boat commission. Introduced and referred to the HERE Dec. 17, 2003 .

SB 982 - requires a 50-cent per ton tipping fee be paid to municipalities with traffic routes to landfills. Introduced and referred to the SERE Dec. 18, 2003 .

HB 2010 – sets a $9 per ton disposal fee for municipal waste ($4 for residual waste, $2 for construction and demolition wastes) to be paid into a special account for “environmental revitalization” and used to pay off debt service in the Growing Greener fund. Sets a 15-cent per pound fee on chemicals and pollutants released and reported to the federal Toxics Release Inventory. Introduced and referred to the HERE May 12.

HB 2679 – raises the disposal fee paid by municipal waste landfills from $4 to $23 per ton. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to the HERE June 8.

Waste imports

HB 332 – defines “recycling” as not including the combustion of materials; bars the acceptance of residual waste from out-of-state sources that do not have recycling programs in place. Introduced and referred to HERE Feb. 18, 2003 .

House Resolution (HR) 89 – calls upon Congress, the President and the Governor of New York to support legislation giving states the power to regulate waste imports. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan and 85 others. Introduced and referred to the House Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Feb. 25, 2003 .

HB 1838 – sets a $2 per ton fee on waste transported 50 miles or more to a landfill. Introduced and referred to the House Local Government Committee July 9, 2003 .

Landfill moratorium

HB 26 – places a minimum three-year moratorium on new landfill facilities; the moratorium could be lifted if the DEP determines there isn’t adequate landfill capacity in the state. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to HERE Jan. 29, 2003 .

SB 156 – companion bill to HB 26, places a minimum three-year moratorium on new landfill facilities; the moratorium could be lifted if the DEP determines there isn’t adequate landfill capacity in the state. Introduced and referred to SERE Feb. 4, 2003 .

HB 419 – places a one-year moratorium on waste facility permits; moratorium would continue if state has adequate waste disposal capacity; permitted waste capacity would be reduced to match actual waste volume, municipalities may reject landfill permits unless the DEP can show there is a public need for the facility. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to the HERE Feb. 24, 2003 .

HB 676 – places a two-year moratorium on landfill permits; requires landfill permit applicants to reach a benefit agreement with the host municipality. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to HERE March 5, 2003 .

Landfill referendum

SB 190 – landfill permit applications must include a compliance history of the applicant to be considered in DEP’s permit decision; municipalities may hold a referendum on a landfill application, and the permit will be rejected if not approved by the electorate; permits may last no longer than 10 years; DEP will review permits every two years; permit bond amounts are increased. Introduced and referred to SERE Feb. 5, 2003 .

HB 1835 – municipalities may hold a referendum on a landfill application, and the permit will be rejected if not approved; permits may last no longer than 10 years; DEP will review permits every two years; permit bond amounts are increased. Introduced and referred to HERE July 9, 2003 .

Waste transport

HB 16 – increases fines for scattering rubbish, vehicles can be forfeited if used to haul waste by those who cause the waste to be deposited or dumped on highways, in waters or on private land. Approved by the House March 3, 2003 ; referred to Senate Transportation Committee March 12, 2003 .

HB 1567 – requires all waste carried by a truck be disposed of at landfill, requires trucks to be covered when leaving a waste disposal facility. Introduced and referred to the House Transportation Committee June 9, 2003 .

“Bad boy” regulations

HB 433 – permits for fly ash disposal shall be rejected if two permit applications have been denied or ruled incomplete within the past year. Introduced and referred to HERE Feb. 25, 2003 .

SB 983 – requires waste permit applicants to certify if they have outstanding violations of solid waste regulations; applicants with three or more violations will be barred from permit consideration; increases fines for repeat violators; makes it illegal to cause offensive odors, noise, blowing trash and dust and dangerous truck traffic. Introduced and referred to SERE Dec. 18, 2003 .

Landfill requirements

HB 1410 – requires hoist municipality agreements for both existing landfills and new landfill permit applications; bans landfills within 2,500 feet of a state park; sets penalties for non-compliance. Co-sponsored by McIlhattan. Introduced and referred to HERE May 7, 2003 .

HB 1836 – requires community health risks study be conducted before issuing landfill permit; limits landfill permits to 10 years; bars new landfills within 300 yards of occupied dwelling; requires DEP to hold three public meetings regarding permits to operate, modify or expand a landfill; establishes tipping fee for municipalities affected by (within one mile of) landfill; bars entities with three or more environmental violations in five years from applying for landfill permit for five years. Introduced and referred to the HERE July 9, 2003 .

General

SB 33 – bans tire recycling facilities within 500 ft of residential areas, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds, day care centers, nursing homes, unless approved by municipal government. Introduced and referred to SERE Jan. 21, 2003 .

SB 374 – establishes the Office of Environmental Advocate within the Office of the Attorney General to represent the public interest in environmental issues; the advocate would represent the public interest in before courts, commissions and regulatory agencies, and monitor regulatory actions which affect the public environmental interest. Introduced and referred to the SERE March 3, 2003 .

HR 831 – calls for a special legislative committee be created to work cooperatively with the Governor and Commonwealth agencies to develop recommendations on environmental program priorities and funding options. Introduced and referred to the House Rules Committee, then July 3, 2004 ; reported to House floor July 3.

HB 533 – companion bill to SB33. Bans tire recycling facilities within 500 ft of residential areas, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds, day care centers, nursing homes, unless approved by municipal government. Introduced Feb. 26, 2003 ; on table in House Jan. 28.

More information on the legislature and its actions, including the full text and histories of bills, can be found on the Internet at www.legis.state.pa.us.n

BLO fecit 20040804 - Pennsylvania Sludge Issues
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