Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Appeal ruling may allow Winton Hills garbage transfer station

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WINTON HILLS - A decision by a state administrative appeals board could open the way for 200 trucks full of garbage to pull in and out of a Winton Hills landfill every day.

The Ohio Environmental Appeals Review Commission has decided in favor of Waste Management of Ohio's request for a license to operate a garbage transfer facility at the site of the former Environmental Land Development Association landfill on Este Avenue.

City Solicitor J. Rita McNeil told City Council in a memo that the city would appeal the decision to the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus.

The Cincinnati Board of Health denied the license in 2002, saying that Waste Management - part of the nation's largest solid-waste company - wasn't competent to run the facility.

But the state panel overruled the Board of Health, saying city health officials didn't adequately justify its decision. The Board of Health resolution said only it reached the decision after "a review of the pertinent information."

"What they're saying is essentially we're overturning it because you did not give specifics. The law doesn't require specifics," said Cincinnati Health Commissioner Malcolm P. Adcock. He said the board took considerable testimony from people for and against the station, providing an extensive record.

That record included objections from many neighbors who argued that landfills and other pollution affects poorer, minority neighborhoods more than wealthier ones. The state decision, in a footnote, rejected that argument, observing that "there is no specific environmental justice law in Ohio" and thus the Board of Health could not consider those arguments.

When the landfill closed in 2000, Waste Management lost its only local landfill - forcing the company to send garbage to the Rumpke Co. landfill in Colerain Township or Waste Management landfills in Kentucky or Montgomery County.

A waste transfer station would allow the company to cut the cost of trucking that waste out of town by allowing it to move garbage from collection trucks to larger tractor-trailers.


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