May 12, 2022 (CONCORD, NH) – New Hampshire’s Waste Management Council has ruled in favor of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) on a critical issue in its appeal challenging a permit authorizing the expansion and operation of the Bethlehem, NH landfill. The council agreed with CLF’s argument that the landfill does not provide a substantial public benefit because there is no need for most of the disposal capacity it provides.
“We’ve been saying for years that there is simply no need for this facility, and today the Waste Management Council agreed,” said CLF staff attorney Heidi Trimarco. “This ruling makes clear that the state cannot permit new landfills that aren’t needed to satisfy New Hampshire’s disposal needs. It’s an important decision not only to get the state off its current landfill-expansion treadmill but also to prevent the continued influx of out-of-state waste.”
Casella Waste Systems subsidiary North Country Environmental Services owns the landfill.
CLF appealed the Department of Environmental Services’ permit decision authorizing the landfill to operate for six years, despite the Department’s acknowledgment that there is no need for the landfill for five of those years, until 2026.
Approximately half of the waste disposed of in New Hampshire landfills comes from out of state. Building unneeded landfills simply allows more of this out-of-state waste to be trucked into New Hampshire for the benefit of private waste companies and to the detriment of local communities. CLF has been actively pushing state regulators to advance New Hampshire’s solid waste management hierarchy, which favors waste reduction and recycling and ranks landfilling as the least preferable option.
CLF experts are available for further comment.