Fri, May 25, 2018 12:12 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Martin court revises waste plan state calls ‘not sufficient’
by Lilly Adkins

INEZ — Language in Martin County’s five-year solid waste plan was changed by the fiscal court during a special meeting Monday night.

Fiscal court members approved changes after the plan was deemed “not sufficient” by state officials.

Division of Solid Waste spokeswoman Kathy Guess said that she had reviewed the county’s solid waste plan and made several changes. Guess went through each page of the plan and told the court all of the changes that had been made requiring its approval.

Some of the changes delayed Recycling Solutions Technology’s request for an exemption which would allow the company to proceed with the construction of a new solid waste gasification/thermal oxidation unit by an estimated 45 days.

“We specified very clearly that we do not want to be relieved of anything, we just want to build and take advantage of the weather,” RST attorney D. B. Kazee said. “We’re not asking for a waiver of any other permit.”

“The secretary won’t grant approval without local approval,” Waste Management representative Sara Evans said.

Kazee said RST wouldn’t operate the facility under any circumstances without the approval of the court.

“It’s up to Secretary (Hank) List,” Evans said.

Guess explained to the court that there had been revisions to the plan because the agency felt it was necessary.

“Changes show 34 tons, but take out the language regarding 245 tons per day,” Guess said. “If RST is not a workable solution... the county needs to have a solution for recycling. There needs to be an alternative.”

District 1 Magistrate Glen Maynard asked about disposal of large items and tires.

Guess explained that the county could participate in the white goods buy-back program and the tire amnesty program, but she didn’t know the scheduled date. She also told the court that because of House Bill 174, the county had $19,000 to do some clean-up projects.

“You have the workings of a good plan here,” Guess said.

Kazee told the fiscal court that the previously published solid waste ordinance let them maintain control because it said “pending court approval.”

He also said that it was more specific because it held the company to a set amount of garbage processing that it would be able to do.

“We aren’t asking for approval to test anything,” Kazee told the fiscal court. “All we are asking is to be allowed to construct. We just want to get it built and then we can come back for court approval.”

Evans said that she felt the changes were significant and, if approved by the fiscal court, the court would need to re-advertise the changed plan.

“I don’t see the big difference,” District 4 Magistrate Sam Whitt said.

“I don’t either,” Judge-Executive Kelly Callaham said, asking County Attorney Kennis Maynard what he thought about the changes.

“It sounds like the state is telling us not to do it,” Maynard said. “Is that what you are telling us...not to approve the exemption?”

“No, we just want to let you know both sides,” Evans said. “It’s up to the court to make a decision.”

District 5 Magistrate Victor Slone said the ordinance had already been advertised and a 30-day public notice had also been given.

“It’s already been public noticed,” Slone said. “Couldn’t we just amend the ordinance?”

“The changes are significant, and if the court approves them, it will have to be advertised again,” Evans said.

Slone made a motion to accept the revised plan with District 3 Magistrate Darrell Mills seconding the motion.

Waste Management EPA representative George Gilbert explained that the RST plan was an experimental process and something that had never been done on a commercial basis.

“If it passes, we’ll permit and if not, they won’t get a permit,” Gilbert said. “It is state of the art equipment and had a bug or two. From what I understand, they are going to have better equipment this time. I still have questions and we want to see how this works out. My concern is how they will keep excess oxygen out of the kiln. It’s a big challenge, and in the process, they must hold down the dioxin formation. Talk is us the test.”

“It’s not cheap on those folks,” Whitt said. “They have invested a lot of money in this and they want it to work.”

Callaham said, “They seem 100 percent sure it will work.

“They need to go ahead with the construction,” Slone said.

Kazee asked if the fiscal court would consider adopting a resolution showing that it supported the company being given the exemption.

District 2 Magistrate Clay Crum agreed and said he would have no problem approving a resolution in support of an exemption on RST’s behalf. Mills also said he would support a resolution if it was legal.

The court was going to go into executive session but failed to notify The Big Sandy News that it was on the agenda 24 hours in advance and opted to postpone an executive session until the regular meeting on Monday, June 23.

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