Republic Services has appealed the unanimous decision of the Benton County Planning Commission to reject its proposal to expand the Coffin Butte landfill.
Commissioners voted 6-0 on Dec. 7 to deny the company’s request for a conditional use permit that would allow expansion. The rejection of the clock over a 14-day period during which appeals could be filed with the county council of commissioners.
The Republic appealed on December 20 and demanded that the appeal not be heard until March 21.
The Republic also said in a report filed by Area President Ryan Lawler that it “reserves the right to present new evidence, testimony and arguments to the Benton County Council of Commissioners.”
Republic needed the conditional use permit to extend the current disposal cell south beyond the current route of Coffin Butte Road, which would be closed. A new private sector would surround the new disposal area and terminate at a locked gate on Soap Creek Road.
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Republic also proposed to construct a new north road that would connect the Soap Creek Road / Tampico Road area with Hwy 99W via Robison Road in an effort to replace road access lost with the closure of Coffin Butte Road. Residents would continue to have access to Highway 99W via Tampico Road.
The Phoenix-based company said it needs to be expanded because the current landfill will reach full capacity in about four years. The adjacent Knife River quarry will not be available to accept waste for perhaps another eight to ten years.
The quarry, Republic officials said, has a potential lifespan of 15 years. In total, Republic said, approval of the permit would add 30 years to the landfill’s life.
The Commissioners’ main conclusions in their five-page report on the decision were that the proposed use of the property, including the closure of Coffin Butte Road, would create an “undue burden” on the surrounding neighborhood and which Republic did not have. answered questions effectively. of the community on noise, odors, air quality and other public health impacts of the expansion as well as its effects on the environment and wildlife.
The Republic, in its response, contested practically all the conclusions of the Planning Commission. The main objections included:
• That the evidence does not support the commission’s conclusion regarding odors, air quality or noise… and that the landfill has been in compliance with the Air Quality Permit regulations required by the Department at all times. the quality of the state’s environment.
• That the improvements at Robison and Tampico will mitigate the closure of Coffin Butte Road.
• This Republic will deal with the impacts required on wildlife under its DEQ permit.
County officials were not available to comment on the appeal or whether it will be suspended and heard in March at the request of the Republic.
The rejection of the claim also set off a clock on the possible closure of Coffin Butte and the insertion of a huge question mark into the state discharge equation.
“It is highly unlikely that the state will approve a new landfill in the Willamette Valley,” Benton County attorney Vance Croney said.
This means that the closure of Coffin Butte would send all regional waste more than 200 miles away to the massive waste management facility in Arlington, along the Columbia River. The extra distance trucks would have to travel, Croney said, would have a clear impact on fares.