BANGOR, Maine — For the time being, the controversial proposal for a landfill in either Greenbush or Argyle has been shut down by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the agency announced in a news release Wednesday.
The Maine DEP stated in its denial of the landfill application filed by Municipal Review Committee Inc. that there was sufficient capacity to handle present waste disposal needs without the addition of a new landfill site.
The proposal for a solid waste disposal facility in the Penobscot communities had been at the center of a firestorm of criticism from residents and members of the Penobscot Nation who argued the site would detract from the region’s aesthetic value and potentially pollute nearby streams, threatening three species of endangered fish.
An informational meeting in May became hostile at times, with some people in the audience yelling at Municipal Review Committee members.
The Municipal Review Committee, which represents 180 towns in Maine, envisioned a multiuse facility that would include a zero-sort center and an operation that would produce ethanol and other fuels for heating.
Two sites under consideration included 500 acres in Greenbush and about 700 acres in Argyle.
The committee argued that a new landfill would be necessary because the existing contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., which operates a waste-to-energy plant in Orrington, and Emera Maine expires in 2018, and without a new site, area residents would see an increased cost.
Maine DEP encouraged the Municipal Review Committee to continue seeking alternatives and new strategies for waste management without having to rely on its own landfill.
The ruling is open to public comment through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, and anyone wishing to comment may email Maine DEP project analyst Karen Knuuti at email@example.com.