Brundidge still in wait-and-see mode on landfill

Published 11:12 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

The City of Brundidge continues to be in a wait-and-see mode regarding the future of the landfill located within the southern limit of the city.

“The hearing on the City’s appeal of the permit transfer before the hearing officer appointed by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has been concluded and all post hearing briefs submitted on the appeal of the permit transfer by ADEM,” said Britt Thomas. “All parties are awaiting the ruling by the hearing officer.”

ADEM transferred the permit to operate the Brundidge Landfill to Brundidge Acquisitions without the consent of the City of Brundidge and the city is asking that the action be rescinded, Thomas said.

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“The hearing officer was appointed by ADEM and ADEM is responsible for paying the hearing officer,” Thomas said. “The hearing is conducted much like a trial with testimony given. The hearing officer heard testimony from the City of Brundidge, ADEM and Brundidge Acquisitions and will rule whether or not the permit should have been transferred without the approval of the City Council.”
Thomas said that, after the hearing officer rules, his ruling will be presented to the Environmental Management Commission for its review and decision.

“The Commission is not bound by the hearing officer’s ruling,” Thomas said. “The Commission could rule either way but the ruling of the Commission is final.”

The hearing before the Commission will be at its October meeting.

Depositions for the Brundidge Landfill matter pending in Pike County Circuit Court will be conducted Aug. 28, 29 and 30.

Thomas said that the City of Brundidge filed a complaint in Pike County Circuit Court contending that Brundidge Acquisitions/Coffee County cannot operate the landfill within the Brundidge city limits without the consent of the City.

“We are awaiting a date for the complaint to be heard by the court,” Thomas said.

The issues with the landfill began on June 20, 2012 when TransLoad America, Inc. filed for bankruptcy, immediately closing the Brundidge Landfill. As a result, Brundidge had to send local waste to a landfill in Coffee County.

The Coffee County Commission voted on Oct. 17, 2012 to spend up to $6 million to purchase the Brundidge Landfill by backing an entity called Brundidge Acquisitions.

Coffee County tried to purchase the landfill earlier for $4 million, but TransLoad America filed for bankruptcy before the deal was set.

Thomas said that the position of the City of Brundidge was that Alabama law precluded the Coffee County Commission from acquiring the landfill for economic development in Coffee County at the expense of the citizens, businesses and industries in Pike County.

The deed to the Brundidge Landfill was recorded at the Pike County Courthouse June 28, 2013 giving ownership to Brundidge Acquisitions, LLC for $4 million.

Rod Morgan, Coffee County Administrator, and Morris Armstrong, Brundidge Acquisitions president, and Mike Thornton, Coffee County Landfill manager visited Brundidge Landfill in an effort to address any environmental concerns.

At that time, Morgan, who is listed on the operating agreement of Brundidge Acquisitions as the independent manager, said the intent of Brundidge Acquisitions was “to operate the landfill in some capacity.”

“However, we continue to believe that Alabama law will ultimately preclude Brundidge Acquisitions from acquiring the landfill for economic development in Coffee County at the expense of the citizens, businesses and industries of Pike County,” Thomas said.