Another spot on editorial by the Times-Tribune Editorial Board! This lack of malodor violations issue is preposterous. As the editorial states: The whole thing stinks!
Times-Tribune, Scranton, PA
March 1, 2015
DEP Faces Smell Test
Whether the public has confidence in decisions by regulatory agencies that are supposed to represent the public interest is not a matter of the agency’s authority under the law. It’s a matter of public trust.
In that regard, the state Department of Environmental Protection got off to a rocky start Wednesday evening as it conducted its first public hearing to consider the proposed massive expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore and Throop.
Hundreds of people in Dunmore High School’s auditorium issued a collective guffaw when Roger Bellas, waste management program director for the DEP, said that the agency had not confirmed any “malodors” beyond the dump’s own property.
Thus, the agency suggested that the evidence of people’s own noses and watery eyes might not be a factor because it hasn’t been confirmed by other means.
People who live near the dump — and as far away as Moosic Lakes in Jefferson Twp. — and travel the Casey Highway or the nearby interstates that pass near the dump, have detected and complained about “malodors” well beyond the dump perimeter.
It’s not just a matter of agreeing to disagree. Whether the dump stinks beyond its boundaries is part of a harms/benefits analysis that state agencies must perform in considering whether to approve the expansion.
Mr. Bellas announced that the state Department of Health will participate in an examination of how the dump expansion would affect public health, which is to the good. But that can’t truly be known because it is impossible to account for all potential issues relative to the expansion over the next 40 to 50 years.
Ultimately, the dump expansion is not simply a regulatory matter. The DEP has the authority and the expertise to place conditions on the operation to ensure that it deposits its next 120 million tons of trash in accordance with state regulations.
But that doesn’t go to the heart of the matter — whether the construction of a 400-foot mountain of garbage at the heart of one of Lackawanna County’s most heavily traveled areas; whether the further establishment of this area as a regional dumping ground for the East Coast — is good for Northeast Pennsylvania.
No DEP monitoring equipment is necessary to answer. In that regard, the whole thing stinks.