New Hampshire legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit the Department of Environmental Services from issuing new permits for landfills until they revise the state’s solid waste plan.
Controversial landfill expansions, lack of leadership
Rep. Linda Massimilla, D-Littleton, sponsored the bill. In a hearing Tuesday in the House’s Environment and Agriculture Committee, she said a lack of funding and staff at the Department of Environmental Services contributed to the 13-year delay.
New landfills and expansions have been contentious in New Hampshire. Last year, a new solid waste working group came together to help plan for the future of trash and recycling in the Granite State. DES expects to have an updated plan by October of this year, and supporters of the bill say the state shouldn’t make decisions about solid waste until that plan is released.
“A landfill permit is a generational decision with enormous health, safety, and environmental impacts and risks for decades to come,” said Wayne Morrison, president of the North Country Alliance for Balanced Change, during the hearing.
The Department of Environmental Services didn’t take a position on the bill. But Mike Wimsatt, director of the Waste Management Division, said the language of the bill, as introduced, would also prohibit them from permitting new facilities like recycling centers, transfer stations, and composting facilities, some of which they hope to approve before updating the plan.
Rep. Massimilla introduced an amendment Tuesday that would change the language of the bill to only prohibit DES from issuing permits for new landfills, which would allow permitting for landfill expansions and other facilities.