Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 21, 2008

Big Run issued permit to expand

Residents not surprised

PRINCESS — State regulators have granted approval to Big Run Landfill to expand.

The decision was made public Friday by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet just hours before offices closed for the weekend.

Spokeswoman Eva Smith-Carroll said the decision was made late Thursday afternoon to grant approval for the 193.5 acre horizontal expansion of the landfill located off U.S. 60 in the Princess area of Boyd County.

The approval came despite heavy opposition from area residents who fear the site’s ongoing odor and dust problems will only deepen as the landfill grows. The expansion is expected to triple the facilities annual capacity from 500,000 tons to 1.5 million tons and will extend the life of the landfill to 30 years.

Currently, much of the waste being buried at the landfill originates outside of Kentucky in the Northeast. The garbage is baled in plastic and shipped by truck and railcar to the facility for disposal.

Along with its approval letter, the EPPC also released seven pages of written responses to comments it received during the public comment period. According to the document, the comments received prompted only minor additions to the permit to address issues of dirt, mud and debris.

Resident comments ranged from the inability to hold an election to approve the landfill’s expansion to groundwater and air quality concerns. Individuals that submitted comments will receive responses via written letters, according to cabinet officials.

The EPPC, and more specifically the Division of Waste Management, which oversees the application process and regulates the landfill’s daily operations, has drawn sharp criticism in recent weeks from residents opposed to the landfill. They say based on comments made during the public hearing in January by DWM Manager Ron Gruzesky that the decision to approve the landfill was a done deal long before public concerns were heard.

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