Arguments heard in landfill case

Published 3:00 am Friday, November 14, 2014

ENTERPRISE – Circuit Judge Thomas Head heard oral arguments Thursday in the City of Brundidge’s attempts to reverse the sale of the Brundidge Landfill.

The arguments centered on one of two motions filed on behalf of the city. In this motion, the City of Brundidge and the City of Brundidge Solid Waste Disposal Authority are appealing the decision by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Environmental Commission to transfer the permit for the Brundidge Landfill to Brundidge Acquisitions, the Coffee County-based entity which purchased the landfill after its former parent declared bankruptcy.

Dorman Walker, attorney for the Brundidge interests, said ADEM was not within its rights to grant the transfer of the permit to operate the Brundidge Landfill to Brundidge Acquisitions without the consent of the City of Brundidge, the host government.

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Walker said Brundidge has the right, as the host government, to regulate certain things related to the operation of the landfill and that right was denied the City by ADEM’s action.

Walker said landfills are designed to last many years so a landfill permit should not be approved only once. A host government has the responsibility of the management of the landfill for the protection of its citizens; therefore, local authorities should have a continuing role in the management of a landfill within its jurisdiction.

Todd Carter, ADEM associate general counsel, said the transfer of the permit for the Brundidge Landfill to Brundidge Acquisitions was a change in ownership, not a change in modification.

If there had been a change in modification – in the way the landfill was to be operated – local authorities could have weighed in, Carter said. However, there was no change in modification, only in ownership. He said ADEM does not provide for local approval of a permit transfer.

Carter said ADEM has provisions for the inspection of landfills and owners cannot walk away from a landfill. It has to be properly closed in order to protect the citizens of a community.

Attorneys for Brundidge Acquisitions, Marsh, Cotter and Stewart, argued that the permit to operate the Brundidge Landfill was not a new permit nor was it a modified permit. It was simply a transfer and did not need the approval of the host government.

Britt Thomas, Brundidge City Manager, said the three sides presented their written argument orally to the judge and Head has a big matter before him.

Thomas said Head will now read the briefs and, at some point, make a ruling.

The City of Brundidge will be back in court in Enterprise on Nov. 20 seeking to prevent Brundidge Acquisitions (Coffee County) from operating a landfill in Brundidge without the approval of the host government, the City of Brundidge.