Kentucky environmental officials have ruled that the Scott County landfill—where Lexington, Kentucky, has been taking its waste since 2015—cannot expand, reports the Lexington Herald Leader.
In April, the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman upheld a December decision by administrative law judge Virginia Gorley denying a permit for the landfill operator to expand.
Gorley wrote on Dec. 30 that the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management should deny an application by Waste Services of the Bluegrass for an expansion of its Central Kentucky Landfill in northern Scott County.
However, a lawyer for Waste Services of the Bluegrass said the company has appealed the cabinet’s decision to the Franklin Circuit Court.
“Since Waste Services of the Bluegrass filed its application with the cabinet eight years ago, it has followed the guidance and directions of the cabinet and has responded to every request made of it by the cabinet, expending vast amounts of time and money in the process,” said David Royse, a lawyer for Waste Services.
“While we are troubled by this sudden reversal in position by the cabinet, we have filed for judicial review with the Franklin Circuit Court and we look forward to our opportunity to address this matter in court,” he adds.
Regardless, Lexington-Fayette Urban County government will continue to use Waste Services for its trash even if the landfill runs out of space. Fayette County awarded Waste Services its solid waste contract in 2015 and renewed it for an additional five years in June, despite some Scott County officials’ pleas not to do so.
Lexington’s contract with Waste Services says the company must find another landfill for the city’s trash if the landfill in Scott County reaches capacity, Lexington city officials said earlier this year. Waste Services also cannot charge Lexington more to take its trash to a different landfill, the contract says. The city spends roughly $3.5 million a year for trash removal.
Some have said the landfill could run out of space in the next two years, depending on how much trash goes into the landfill and its compaction rate. In various state and court documents, Waste Services has said the expansion is needed and the company has also long argued Scott County knew it would expand when it purchased the landfill from the county in 1999.