By Kara Herlihy
Representatives from the Vermont Agency of Transportation have apologized to town officials in Moretown for not properly notifying the town about the potential shipment of approximately 33,000 tons of contaminated soil to the landfill.
Select board assistant Cheryl Brown told select board members that following news of ANR's review of the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to ship the hazardous waste to MLI, she contacted ANR.
MLI was slated to receive the dioxin-contaminated soil from a superfund
site in Massachusetts early last week; the state balked at the EPA's
determination that the soil was not considered "hazardous waste,"
because the concentration level of the hazardous material, dioxin, was
not high enough to deem the soil "hazardous waste."
Brown said that ANR is required to notify the landfill host town and copy the municipality on all correspondence as a part of the Act 250 permit.
ANR representatives called their failure to notify the select board a "mix-up" and that the case happened very quickly and apologized for failing to notify the town's select board beforehand, according to Brown.
"The landfill cannot take hazardous waste; it's against the Act 250 permit," she continued.
Moretown resident Ben Sanders was present during the public comment period to suggest that the town officials should join in an effort to forge a connection between the state and the individual towns to "make sure the town has an opportunity for public hearings and that the town and public have an opportunity to express concerns and ask questions," he said.
"Had it not been for a reporter at the Free Press, no one would have known about this; luckily we had a sharp person at ANR who asked the right questions and made a wise decision or it all could have happened without knowing about it," Sanders continued.
Select board member John Hoogenboom said that he "has faith in the ANR; obviously they had difficulty getting information, but I can't imagine that they would just rubber stamp something like this."
Sanders said he wanted to ensure that the "local and state process include notification of neighbors, town select board and anyone else that needed to know."
Brown said that the host town agreement between with the landfill is due to expire in August of 2011 and it is "time to start working on it again."
Sanders continued, "To truck from a Massachusetts superfund site to Vermont is incredible that they'd even try to do that; hopefully, we won't even see something like this come our way."
In May 2009, the EPA ordered a reassessment of the chemical and its potential human health risks by completing a draft of Preliminary Remediation Goals (PRGs).
According to the EPA, PRG's "serve as a target to use during the initial development, analysis and selection of cleanup alternatives. These goals should both be protective of human health and the environment and comply with all applicable relevant and appropriate regulations."
The EPA began taking public comments on the issue via their website on January 7 but extended the deadline to April 2010 to allow additional time for consideration.