The Scott County Fiscal Court plans to file a civil action next week seeking information and injunctive relief against the state Energy and Environment Cabinet and Waste Services of the Bluegrass (WSB), owners of the Central Kentucky Landfill in northern Scott County.
The action will be filed in Scott County Circuit Court, said Rand Marshall, attorney for the fiscal court. The state Energy and Environment Cabinet is the permitting agency for the landfill.
“It’s time the gloves come off,” said Magistrate Bill Burke during a recent fiscal court meeting. Burke said he was frustrated because the landfill frequently received violations from the state, but there was never a financial penalty attached.
On Wednesday, the fiscal court took a step towards determining how it can hold the landfill accountable.
The civil action will help the fiscal court to determine the validity of its host agreement with the landfill and whether the termination agreement which included language for expansion made in 2012 was processed legally and properly, Marshall said. The civil action also requests that processing of the landfill’s application to expand be suspended until it can be determined what authority the county may have in the process..
“This will tell us what we can and cannot do,” Marshall said in regards to the landfill.
Tom Fitzgerald, a well-known environmental attorney, was hired earlier this year by the fiscal court as an advisor regarding landfill issues. It is Fitzgerald who believes the 2012 agreement is not valid because it did not go through the proper procedures, said Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington.
“The first question that will be posed,” states a summary of the civil action, “should such an action be approved, is whether the 2012 determination that the then-pending application for an expansion of the Waste Services of the Bluegrass landfill in Scott County was consistent with the adopted solid waste management plan, continues to bind Scott County notwithstanding that the pending application for expansion of the landfill is markedly different than that reviewed and found consistent in 2012.
“The County/Solid Waste Governing Board takes the position, through correspondence from the Scott County Attorney to the Energy and Environment Cabinet, that the 2012 determination of consistency does not apply to the currently-pending application for landfill expansion. The Cabinet has been requested to cease further processing of the pending Administrative and technical Applications submitted by Waste Services of the Bluegrass LLC for expansion of the operation of the landfill in Scott County, Kentucky due to what the County/Solid Waste Governing Board believes are provisions in state law preventing the Cabinet from so reviewing.”
The civil action states the expansion application filed by the landfill now pending before the state Division of Waste Management is not the same agreement presented in 2012 and asks the circuit court to review both agreements to determine if they are consistent. It further states that “no written request has been made by the Scott County Fiscal Court” and there has been no public notice and opportunity to comment on the request, which further invalidates the pending agreement.
“The lawsuit is seeking a finding by the Court that it is in error for the Cabinet to accept the Administrative and Technical Applications and to continue to process the application,” states the fiscal court summary.
In addition the current application “seeks roughly twice the airspace” as the 2012 application.
The civil action seeks to invalidate the host agreement between WSB and the county, “because it violates the Kentucky Constitution as a grant of a franchise or privilege without proper advertising of the same.”
The fiscal court has advertised and received three proposals for future management of its own waste. Two of those proposals plan to haul the waste outside the county while the third from WSB proposes to continue to dispose of its waste at the existing landfill.
The action is necessary so the fiscal court can determine what its next step will be regarding waste management in the county, Covington said.
Don Todd, an attorney representing a class action lawsuit by Scott County citizens against the landfill praised the fiscal court.
“It’s a very positive action,” he said.
Todd spoke to the fiscal court regarding Double Culvert Road, which leads to the landfill. He urged the fiscal court to enforce its own ordinance regarding mud, trash and debris on the road and estimated some 60 semi-tractor trailer trucks travel the 35-ft. wide road daily.
Linda Stacey who lives in the area asked the fiscal court to do something to help the residents living on the road.
“I know you’re trying,” she said. “I know they’re trying. But we are tired.”
“We share your concerns,” he said.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.