5/14/2015 Editorial: No obstacle to opposing dump growth

If the law precludes Dunmore Borough Council from opposing the expansion of the massive Keystone Sanitary Landfill, then the law should be the first thing to be thrown into the expanded dump. The expansion, which would bring another 100 million tons-plus of mostly out-of-state garbage to the dump, would be bad for the borough on many scores. The expansion would increase the dump’s active disposal area by 100 acres, to 435 acres, and increase its height to an astounding 475 feet.
Yet, the borough council has been teetering on the fence about the project for nearly a year. First, it sent a letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection supporting the expansion, then asked the DEP to disregard the letter and reserved the right to oppose the project. It can’t quite bring itself to formally oppose the expansion, after negotiating a contract that would increase the borough’s long-term revenue from the dump.
Remarkably, some council members seem concerned that a letter in opposition to the expansion could expose the borough to legal liability, even though members raised no such issue before firing off a letter supporting the dump.
One councilman noted that the council’s 2009 decision against a zoning change to accommodate the location of a methadone clinic in the borough resulted in litigation. But that was a zoning dispute rather than council’s statement of support or opposition. In the landfill case, the DEP will make the decision on an expansion, receiving comment from interested parties as part of the process.
The borough council is an important interested party. There is nothing other than members’ reticence precluding it from formally stating opposition to the landfill. Council should fire off the appropriate letter.