Tour of Juniper Ridge Landfill in Alton, Maine with Shelby Wright on Wednesday January 19, 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

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I would like to thank the Maine Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills for listening to the voices of Maine people who spoke clearly and with conviction that they do not want our state to be treated as the dumping ground for the Northeast. LD 1639 will close a loophole in the state’s waste laws that had allowed private corporations to import construction and demolition debris from across New England and dump it in the state’s Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.

This was a major victory for many of us who worked for years to get the laws updated. I live near the landfill and have experienced the negative impact this practice had on the neighboring community and environment. I’m vice chair of Don’t Waste ME, a coalition of Maine citizens that led the campaign to fix the state’s waste laws.

Maine acquired the Juniper Ridge Landfill to reserve the limited capacity for the needs of its residents, but because of the loophole it was quickly filling with out-of-state waste. The multi-billion dollar corporation Casella Waste Systems unsuccessfully opposed the bill, I believe, because it had long been using the loophole for profit while ignoring concerns from neighboring residents, the Penobscot Nation, and environmental groups.

Thankfully lawmakers listened to Maine people instead of the waste industry and their lobbyists. Changes like this are necessary if Maine is to truly lead us on a less wasteful path that diminishes the danger and damage.

Ed Spencer

Old Town