May 20, 2024

Hillary Lister, longtime activist on waste impacts in Maine, founder and organizer with Don’t Waste ME, speaks prior to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection’s consideration of rule changes that seeks to provide protections for communities directly impacted by landfills and waste facilities and to close a loop hole that encourages the importation of out-of-state waste into Maine.

Mini Lecture #1: Disparity of State Regulations

How more stringent waste policies in neighboring states have resulted in the proliferation of out of state waste being imported into Maine. This has resulted in a growing business using Maine’s publicly owned landfills and taking advantage of renewable energy credits.

Legally, publicly owned landfills cannot take out-of-state waste, but for years the waste industry has side stepped this with a loop hole that allows for waste from outside the state to be minimally processed once imported and then re-classified as “in-state” waste.

Mini Lecture #2: Leachate and Landfill Gas

Here we examine the impacts of pollution from the liquid leachate and gas produced at the publicly owned, privately operated Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town. Arsenic, mercury, PFAS/PFOS and other chemicals are released into the Penobscot River with limited processing and oversight, impacting the health and environment of neighboring communities in Alton, Argyle, Old Town and the Penobscot Nation.

A petition before the BEP this month asks that the citing and licensing of waste facilities “is not inconsistent with ensuring equal protection and environmental justice for communities where the waste facility is proposed or operating.”

As compared to other states, Maine has minimal requirements for testing and pollution control equipment required at wastewater discharge sites disposing of landfill leachate.