Birds sit and fly above the trash of the Juniper Ridge Landfill, Wednesday, January 19, 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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I believe a recent column in the BDN contains some falsehoods about Maine’s Juniper Ridge Landfill that deserve to be corrected.

This landfill has been burying thousands of tons of out-of-state construction and demolition debris for years through a loophole in state law. Casella Waste Systems operates the landfill on behalf of the state, and ReSource owns a waste processing facility in Lewiston. They have been importing out-of-state debris and calling it Maine-generated waste. All so it can be dumped at the Juniper Ridge Landfill.

Except this landfill was never supposed to accept out-of-state waste, and there’s no good reason why it should. The state acquired the landfill to provide disposal capacity for Mainers’ waste, not the rest of New England. In fact, state law requires that waste buried in the landfill come from Maine.

A bill ( LD 1639) that would close the loophole for good has gained momentum – and exposed Casella and ReSource’s practices. Yet, both companies seem to be spreading myths to confuse legislators and the public, as in the recent column.

Burying out-of-state waste at Juniper Ridge harms Maine’s ability to manage its own waste. What’s more, it threatens residents’ health and quality of life. We need to be forward-thinking about managing our own waste. That includes preserving the capacity of Maine’s state-owned landfill for the people of Maine, as it was intended.

Peter Blair

Staff attorney

Zero Waste Project

Conservation Law Foundation