Central Kentucky Landfill’s parent company Waste Services of the Bluegrass (WSB) has filed for a preliminary injunction against the Scott County’s Solid Waste Management plan which calls for “zero capacity waste,” once the landfill reaches its capacity.
According to the lawsuit, Central Kentucky Landfill will reach its 9.67 million tons capacity in December.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Oct. 1 and names the City of Georgetown, Mayor Tom Prather, Scott County Fiscal Court, Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington, Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission, P&Z Director Joe Kane, Commonwealth of Kentucky, the State Energy and Environment Cabinet and “John Does 1-25.”
“WSB purchased the Central Kentucky Landfill from the City of Georgetown in 1999 with the understanding and expectation that it would be expanded to meet the growing needs of the community and greater Central Kentucky,” states the suit. “Despite upholding its end of the bargain for over the last two decades, the current Fiscal Court of Scott County has decided to do everything in its power, and outside its power, to prevent any further expansion of the landfill and to shut down WSB’s Scott County operations permanently — without any regard for the massive investment expended by WSB in direct reliance on the actions and representations of Scott County and the impact on a number of Central Kentucky counties and municipalities.”
When WSB purchased Central Kentucky Landfill, its capacity was 3.67 million tons. In 1999, the year of the purchase, the fiscal court authorized the landfill to expand to its current 9.67 million tons.
In 2010, the landfill purchased an adjacent 500 acres for the horizontal expansion and filed a Notice of Intent to expand with the county, held a public hearing and the notice was unanimously adopted by the fiscal court, the lawsuit states.
Earlier this year, WSB filed for a permit modification that would provide “16-20 months” of additional airspace to dispose of municipal waste, but even as the modification was pending the fiscal court approved an amended Solid Waste Management Plan that eliminates accepting any solid waste beyond its current capacity.
Earlier this year, the fiscal court amended its Solid Waste Management Plan declaring the county would no longer allow any landfill waste in the county once the landfill reaches its original capacity. Central Kentucky Landfill filed to expand the landfill about nine years ago, but early this year the state’s Environmental cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman upheld a December 2019 decision by administrative law judge Virginia Gorley denying a permit for the expansion.
WSB’s lawsuit claimed several “deficiencies” in the county’s process to amend its Solid Waste Management Plan including the county did not provide adequate public notice once it sought comment on potential “options,” rather than a specific proposed change as required by regulation and the amended plan will have a “disastrous impact” on Central Kentucky’s citizens and numerous local governments. The lawsuit also claims the plan contradicts policies adopted by the General Assembly in 1991 regarding the regionalization and management of solid waste.
Central Kentucky Landfill signed a contract with Fayette County in 2015 to begin accepting its solid waste for about $3.5 million per year. According to the lawsuit, Central Kentucky Landfill also has contracts with Franklin County, the City of Cynthiana, City of Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Owen County, Georgetown and Scott County.
Scott County and the City of Georgetown were aware the landfill planned to expand and WSB has invested “millions of dollars” in the landfill, the lawsuit states.
“…Scott County was fully aware that WSB had entered into binding contracts with a host of central Kentucky counties and municipalities that Scott County had explicitly authorized and encouraged WSB to serve; on June 25, 2020, under the leadership of a new judge-executive, Scott County undertook a complete about face, and initiated efforts to cease any expansion of the Central Kentucky Landfill and to shut down the landfill altogether — culminating in the adoption of the amended SWMP purposing to ‘accept zero capacity waste’ in Scott County and ‘leave the landfill business behind,’” states the lawsuit.
Among the lawsuit’s exhibits is a 2014 letter from then county-judge executive George Lusby to Teresa Maynard of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government that states, “The Scott County Solid Waste Management Plan authorizes Waste Services of the Bluegrass Landfill to accept waste generated in Fayette and surrounding counties. The Solid Waste Management Plan allows for Waste Services of the Bluegrass to expand the landfill to accept up to 9.7 million tons of solid waste in their landfill.”
The state cabinet “spent eight years meticulously reviewing WSB’s permit application for expansions, now acting under a new Secretary, suddenly moved with lightning speed to out its imprimatur on Scott County’s flawed actions,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction against the county’s amended Solid Waste Management Plan.
“The potential harm to both WSB and the public interest vastly outweighs any potential negative effects a preliminary injunction could have on third parties,” the lawsuit states.
County officials declined to comment as they had just received copies of the lawsuit.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.