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Tonnage cap kept for landfill

April 02, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The North Mountain landfill near Hedgesville, W.Va., will retain a monthly and daily tonnage limit for now, but has the right to challenge the limits in a future lawsuit, a federal judge ruled last week.

A settlement order signed March 26 by U.S. District Judge Craig Broadwater upheld the 500-ton daily limit and 9,999-ton monthly limit at LCS Services Inc. on Allensville Road.

Five of the six defendants named in the 1996 lawsuit agreed to the settlement order - former Gov. Gaston Caperton, the state Division of Environmental Protection, the state office of Waste Management for the DEP, the state Public Service Commission and the state Department of Tax and Revenue.

Only the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority refused to sign.

"There are several factors as to why we chose not to sign off on the proposed settlement," said Clint Hogbin, chairman of the authority. "The primary reason was there was an effort by the plaintiffs to incorporate a side agreement to remove the 500-ton-per-day cap. We're pleased that Judge Broadwater did not incorporate the side agreement into the final order."

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But LCS is permitted to bring another action challenging the constitutionality of the daily and monthly limits, the order said.

In 1996, LCS filed a lawsuit claiming tonnage limits were keeping it from doing business. LCS attorneys argued the limits were unconstitutional.

Solid Waste Authority members and their Charleston, W.Va., attorney, Larry Harless, met Tuesday night to go over the order and decide on their next step. Their options are to appeal within 30 days, ask Broadwater for clarification within 10 days or do nothing.

Hogbin said Wednesday the authority will not ask for clarification. At its board meeting April 15, the board could discuss whether to appeal the agreement, he said.

The order stated any solid waste facility in the state could increase its maximum number of tons up to 10 percent for two years without major modification as long as the landfill is within its tonnage classification.

After the two-year increase, the landfill would have to return to the original limit or seek a new permit.

That does not apply to LCS, which is a Class B landfill and already permitted to accept its maximum tonnage limit.

Class A landfills can accept up to 30,000 tons.

West Virginia law would require LCS to get site approval by the Solid Waste Authority if it wanted to increase tonnage. Berkeley County citizens could then petition for a referendum.

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