Residents ask DEP to deny landfill permit (copy)

Stephen Shields, a pilot who flies out of Grove City Airport in Springfield Township, was among more than two dozen people at an October 2019 hearing who spoke against allowing Tri-County Industries Inc. to reopen a landfill in Liberty and Pine townships.

PINE TOWNSHIP— As the Tri-County Industries Inc. landfill permit makes it way through the appeal process, the environmental group that opposes it continues to seek community support.

“It’s very costly,” Jane Cleary said of appeal expenses.

Cleary is a Pine Township resident and member of Citizens Environmental Association of the Slippery Rock Area, or CEASRA.

Along with Liberty Township, the organization is appealing the permit approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection one year ago.

Tri-County is proposing to reopen its landfill on company-owned property off state Route 208 in Liberty and Pine townships.

CEASRA, residents, business owners and other community members have raised concerns about pollution, increased traffic, decreased property values and more.

They are also worried about leachate, which is liquid runoff from the landfill, possibly being radioactive; that’s been the case with other landfills, Cleary said.

“It’s a pretty huge problem for this country,” she said.

And in order for CEASRA to keep up with the appeal process, the group needs more help from the community.

They need more people to voice their concerns and help cover expenses for things like experts, legal fees and DEP documents, Cleary said.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, CEASRA sold raffle tickets that were connected to the Pennsylvania Lottery. Five people won $2,000 each, and CEASRA netted $10,000.

The organization also received $8,000 in grants.

The appeal of the landfill is still in the discovery phase, and Cleary thanked the community for its ongoing support.

The next step is exchanging reports from experts with the appellants’ reports due in February, and the reports from DEP and Tri-County due in March, said Tom Decker, community relations coordinator for DEP’s northwest regional office.

The involved parties will then have a chance to file dispositive motions, and the Environmental Hearing Board would rule on any of those filings.

Also, DEP is continuing to review the testimony provided at the April 15 virtual public hearing that focused on Tri-County’s application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the landfill, Decker said.

Grove City borough is also keeping an eye on the proceedings, especially since the borough owns Grove City Airport in Springfield Township, about two miles from the landfill site.

Airport manager Michael Baun wrote a letter to DEP about concerns regarding bird strikes, Vance Oakes, borough manager, reported at the Dec. 20 council meeting.

Birds are attracted to waste, and the airport’s proximity to the landfill could interfere with with the planes, Oakes said.

He added that the Environmental Hearing Board denied Pine Township’s request to rejoin the appeal.

Pine Township was initially part of the appeal, but the municipality was taken off the appeal earlier this year after Bill Pritchard, one of the three township supervisors, requested that the township be removed.

Pine Township is allowed to act as an intervener, said Tim Bonner, the borough’s solicitor.

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