County lawyers say they believe they have found a way for the CountyCouncil to legally remove proposed rubble landfill projects from thecounty's solid waste management plan.
What's significant about the proposal is that it could affect the status of the proposed Gravel Hill Road rubble landfill near Havre de Grace and the planned Fort Hoyle Road rubble landfill project near Joppa.
A proposal being considered by the council would allow the council to remove a landfill site from the solid waste plan under certain conditions, including:
* If the site violates county laws.
* If 18 months after the site was included in the solid waste management plan it has not received a state permit or has not started operating.
The proposal is in the form of a proposed amendment to an environmental law bill now being considered by the council.
The proposed bill would create new prohibitions on open dumping and other environmental controls.
The council has not yet voted on any of the 75 proposed amendments to the bill.
The council is expected to act on theamendments during its May 28 session; council members must act on the bill, amended or not, by June 4.
The council has been fighting for its right to removed a proposed rubble landfill from its solid waste plan since May 1990.
That's when the council voted to remove the Gravel Hill Road site, owned by Maryland Reclamation Associates Inc. of Churchville, from the solid waste management plan.
The site, near Webster just outside Havre de Grace, was added to the county's solid waste management plan by the council in the fall of 1989.
Maryland Reclamation challenged the council's vote removing its site from the plan, and a county circuit judge ruled in the company's favor. The council voted this winter to appeal that decision to the Court ofSpecial Appeals.
The state Department of the Environment has not yet issued a permit to Maryland Reclamation for the Gravel Hill.
"Judge Whitfill's opinion exposed that we had a law that could put people in the plan, but no method for removing them from the plan," saidJefferson Blomquist, deputy county attorney who helped draft the proposed amendment.
"But this proposed amendment would not make it mandatory that the council remove a site from the plan if it failed to meet the requirements.
"The council could choose not to take someone out of the plan, if, say, it took 20 months to get a permit instead of 18 months."
Blomquist said a proposed rubble landfill site onFort Hoyle Road represents another reason the county needs such a law.
"Fort Hoyle has been in the solid waste management plan for close to three years, but they're no further along in the permitting process than they were two years ago.
"They're not diligently pursuing a permit for the site," said Blomquist.
"If it goes in the plan,and does not move forward that puts us in a bind."