April 20, 2022 (PORTLAND, ME) – Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed a new law that closes a loophole allowing out-of-state waste to be buried in the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Alton, which is only supposed to accept trash from Maine. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.
“Dumping out-of-state waste at this landfill violates the law and harms the health of nearby communities,” said Peter Blair, Zero Waste Attorney at CLF. “This landfill has been burying thousands of tons of construction and demolition debris for years through this loophole and that will finally come to an end. Legislators and Governor Mills deserve credit for putting Mainers’ health over corporate profits.”
The state purchased the Juniper Ridge Landfill to provide disposal capacity for Mainers’ waste, and state law requires that only Maine waste be buried there. But Casella, the operator of the landfill, and ReSource, a waste processor, have taken advantage of a loophole that allows waste processed in Maine to be considered “in-state.” ReSource pulls out a small percentage of recyclables in Lewiston and then grinds the mostly out-of-state waste that remains for easy burial. Due to this brief pitstop, Casella designated it trash from Maine despite its actual origins.
The new law (LD 1639) prohibits that practice moving forward.
CLF experts are available for further comment.