The State Planning Office will hear comments Friday on a petition to require that the agency hold a public hearing on substantive changes to the contract governing operations at Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.
The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the University of Maine at Augusta in Jewett Hall Auditorium. Written comments will be accepted through Jan. 20.
The petition would require the State Planning Office to hold a public hearing if proposed changes to the operating service agreement at the Old Town landfill potentially would meet any of three criteria:
• Increase the amount of waste sent to the facility.
• Increase the importation of waste to the facility.
• Force changes in the facility’s operation that could affect traffic, odor, noise or public safety in abutting communities.
Rep. Bob Duchesne, D-Hudson, led the petition drive after he and others learned that the State Planning Office had rewritten part of the state’s contract with Casella Waste Management back in November 2006 but never informed town officials, residents or the landfill’s advisory council about the changes.
News about the changes surfaced last year among groups critical of the state’s management of Juniper Ridge.
The contract changes could have allowed Casella — the firm that operates state-owned Juniper Ridge — to deposit up to 20,000 tons of unprocessed construction and demolition debris in the landfill. The company would have been allowed to dump the debris only when processing facilities were closed.
Casella subsequently has withdrawn a request to modify the company’s permit with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in order to accept the “bypass” debris. But residents critical of state management of Juniper Ridge want the rules changed to require public notification of future changes.
Written comments may be submitted by Jan. 20 to: State Planning Office, Attn: Rhonda Carl, 38 State House Station, Augusta 04333.