On December 20th, Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Russell T. Perkins ordered that, in light of newly discovered evidence, the application of a Republic Services’ subsidiary to construct a new landfill be returned to the Central Tennessee Regional Solid Waste Planning Board so the Board can “consider all appropriate matters” related to the proposed landfill.
In July, the Board denied Republic’s proposal to construct a new landfill adjacent to its current operations at Middle Point. After that decision, Republic, through its subsidiary BFI Waste Systems of Tennessee, filed a lawsuit to overturn the Board’s unanimous decision. The City joined that lawsuit in November. On December 3rd, the Board and the City asked the Court to reopen the landfill expansion proceedings to hear new information that the City recently pieced together from records at the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC).
The Court’s December 20th order allows interested parties to file a request with the Board to consider additional evidence. The City order will also enable the Board to consider information that further supports its previous decision to deny Republic’s application.
The additional evidence, which was recently discovered and pieced together by the City, relates to industrial aluminum waste buried in the landfill from the mid-1990s until 2007. Whether the Board should be allowed to consider this information had become a central issue in the lawsuit.
Republic’s proposal calls for the construction of a new landfill on 99 acres along Jefferson Pike. The proposed site is adjacent to the existing 200-acre Middle Point Landfill located along the East Fork of the Stones River. Under state law, the Regional Planning Board is required to consider and either approve or deny Republic’s application before TDEC can commence its own review.
At a public meeting held on July 9, the Board voted unanimously to reject the application, upon a finding that Republic’s proposal was incompatible and inconsistent with Rutherford County’s 10-year solid waste plan. That decision came after a June 28 public hearing where dozens of residents spoke in opposition to the proposed landfill. The Board, in making its decision, cited the strong, noxious odors emitted from the current landfill and concerns about what impact an even larger area of landfill might have on the health, safety, and quality life of local residents. Unless overturned in court, the Board’s vote to reject Republic’s application precludes TDEC from approving the new landfill.
In addition to supporting the Board’s decision, the City has notified TDEC that Republic has not filed an application for the new proposed landfill with the City as required by state statute. This statute, commonly known as the Jackson Law, grants the City legal authority to approve or disapprove landfill construction projects located within one mile of the City. Republic proposed new landfill is within that jurisdictional area. By law, TDEC is precluded from reviewing Republic’s proposal if the City rejects Republic’s application.
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