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What is up with Cell-4?

When Moretown Landfill asked the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to recertify its existing trash cells—Cells 2 and 3—it asked that its recertification application be considered independently of its certification application for a whole new trash cell—Cell 4.

Since the ANR denied recertification for Cells 2 and 3 last month, citing the Route 2 facility's inability to control offsite odors and prevent groundwater pollution, Moretown Landfill has stopped accepting non-contracted trash. But one question still floats in the sulfurous air: What about Cell 4?

In short, it's still a possibility, but to move forward with construction on Cell 4, Moretown Landfill will need to secure permits from the Moretown Development Review Board (DRB) and the ANR, as well as the Act 250 Commission.

After holding seven public hearings considering a conditional use permit for Cell 4, last December the DRB accepted a continuance—per the landfill's request—until May 2, with the condition that any revised plans or policies for the expansion be submitted before April 1.

On Wednesday, April 3, DRB chair John Riley wrote to Brian Dunkiel, the attorney representing Moretown Landfill, to inquire about the status of those plans.

"At this time, [Moretown Landfill] has not submitted to the ANR modifications to its Cell 4 application," Dunkiel replied.

Moretown Landfill will continue its discussions with the ANR about Cell 4, Dunkiel said, but "until [it] makes modifications to the Cell 4 proposal, it does not make sense to have another DRB hearing on this application," he said, requesting that the continuance be extended from May 2 until after July 1.

Riley responded that the board would reconvene on May 2 to consider this extension request, "together with any submissions or positions of other parties."

On the state level, Moretown Landfill "is certainly still allowed to apply for Cell 4," ANR secretary Deb Markowitz told WDEV host Mark Johnson on March 25, but they'd have to overcome "the same hurdles" they encountered when applying for recertification for Cells 2 and 3, she explained. "It's hard to see how they could meet the standards."

Advanced Disposal Services, the company that took over ownership of Moretown Landfill in September of 2012, "created a transparency that didn't exist before," Markowitz conceded, "but there's continued to be odor problems."

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