As relayed yesterday, the DEP has determined that the landfill’s application is now administratively complete. The Scranton Times reports it this morning on their Front page.
‘The Times-Tribune’ - 2014-12-18
BY BRENDAN GIBBONS STAFF WRITER
The state Department of Environmental Protection has declared Keystone Sanitary Landfill’s application complete and ready for a review t he agency estimates will last through January 2016.
“Essentially, the landfill has included all necessary paperwork and documentation,” DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said in an email. “We now move on to the technical review process, where the department’s waste management staff and legal staff will review the technical aspects of the application and ultimately make a decision.”
The announcement starts the clock on a process the DEP estimates will last 405 days.
The DEP proposed a timeline with two sect i ons: environmental assessment and technical design/operation review. It includes a public meeting, where the DEP will answer questions but won’t record testimony, and a public hearing, where the DEP will listen t o and record public input, using a stenographer. It also includes three separate public comment periods.
Because a portion of Dunmore is considered an environmental j ustice area, at least one staff member from the DEP’s Office of Environmental Advocate will attend some of the events, although they’re not yet sure which, Ms. Connolly said. Jefferson Twp. resident Michele Dempsey, a core member of the Friends of Lackawanna group opposing the landfill’s expansion, called the process confusing, pointing out that the region’s future is at stake. It left her with some serious questions, such as how the public and municipalities could afford to hire their own experts to review the application for its technical merits and whether community opposition to the project matters to the DEP.
“I think that the public needs to have a firm understanding of what is happening and what our rights are before any decisions are rendered,” she said. “Fifty years is a long t i me, and we shouldn’t rush a decision that will impact so many now and for countless generations to come.”
Keystone consultant Al Magnotta said the process will give landfill officials a chance to explain what they do, how they do it and their plans for the future. “We want (the public) to fully understand our operation and management and commitment to environmental care,” he said. ”That’s been established through our compliance record.”
Katherine Mackrell Oven, a Dunmore resident and Friends of Lackawanna core member, said she’s glad DEP isn’t rushing the process, “given the egregious manner of the proposed expansion.” “I hope the residents of NEPA will use this time as an opportunity to become more informed about the tremendous negative impact this expansion will have on the quality of life of its residents,” she said in an email. “I hope they will use this time to contact the DEP and our elected officials to voice their opposition to the expansion.”
Last March, Keystone first submitted its application to expand to 475 feet above g round l evel, creating enough space for 47 years worth of waste. As it does now, the DEP will review the facility every 10 years for compliance with its permits and state regulations.
The department announced the milestone in a letter to Keystone manager Joseph Dexter, copied to landfill consultant CECO Associates Inc.; Lackawanna County commissioners and planning commission; the boroughs of Dunmore, Throop, Olyphant and Dickson City; the city of Scranton; Roaring Brook Twp.; Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey; U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-17, Moosic; state Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald; and state representatives Frank Farina, D-112, Jessup; Marty Flynn, D-113, Scranton; and Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-114, Taylor. Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, @bgibbonsTT on Twitter