April 11, 2022 (PORTLAND, ME) – Maine’s Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would close a loophole that allows 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. The Senate made the right call in closing it, and the House must now do the same.”
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 designates it as trash from Maine despite its actual origins.
The bill (LD 1639) will prohibit that practice moving forward.
CLF experts are available for further comment.