Trick or Treat
After months of legal briefs, depositions, and not much going on, activity on the Jungo Road Landfill project is changing as fast as the weather out on the Black Rock.
The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) published a letter to Recology, October 17, stating they will go to public comment on Jungo Road landfill within 10 days. See: www.ndep.nv.gov/bwm/docs/jungo_tech_review_101711.pdf . In discussions with Vinson Guthreau, Public Information Officer for the NDEP, I learned that could be this week or next. As part of that public commentary, they will hold a public meeting in Winnemucca.
Jungo Land Investments (Recology)filed suit against Humboldt County, April, 2010 when Humboldt County Commissioners did not extend their incomplete three-year conditional use permit (CUP) for another five years. A 'stay' was granted, but the issue of a valid CUP is not resolved and won't be heard in court until oral arguments on Monday, January 9, 2012 in Reno Courtroom 6 before Chief Judge Robert C. Jones. The NDEP has stated that even if they grant Recology an operating permit before then, they cannot begin construction until they have a valid CUP.
Given the law suit, I found it a)curious that NDEP's 10/1711 public letter to Recology cc's Recology's legal council and not the Humboldt County county legal team; and b)that the NDEP is proceeding with public comment without a decision on the CUP. I did provide feedback to the NDEP that they didn't really look much like Switzerland (unbiased)copying one legal team vs another. Mr. Guthreau explained the Recology lawyer was cc'd because, he asked to be, there is no intention of bias. OK, fair enough. But, my view is that common sense would tell you to communicate to both parties in the same way to avoid expressions of concern about bias.
Mr. Guthreau also explained the NDEP has regulations to follow in terms of timing and going to public comment. He also noted there really wasn't any waste of resources to taxpayers or the NDEP if public comment proceeds before the lawsuit is final and the Judge decides in favor of Humboldt County (no CUP). Not sure I agree with that. I don't know what resources, if any, locals may bring to this project.
I wonder if folks may not participate in public comment and just hope the Judge makes this go away given the timing and the oral hearing in January. I hope not. I sincerely hope the community is motivated to prepare for and participate in public comment. No one knows what the Judge's ruling will be.
I also hope the public will have access to the most current NDEP/Recology documents as they prepare for public comment. The public NDEP Jungo web site states 'The documents below represent the most current documents under formal review by the NDEP for the Jungo Landfill Permit Application. They supersede any previous versions of documents previously posted on this website.' But, I discovered the documentation on the NDEP Jungo Road Landfill site is not 100% current. They plan to do a major refresh of the documents on or about Oct. 26, just before they open public comments.
So it looks like there's a big push on by Recology and NDEP to have all the paperwork in order to issue an operating permit to Jungo for a class 1 landfill even before the results of the legal proceedings that are scheduled for January 9, 2012 are known.
If the residents of Humboldt County do not want to be saddled with a Class 1 landfill of the size and scope of the proposed Jungo Landfill, they better start preparing their public comments(see http://ndep.nv.gov/bwm/jungo.htm for project documentation) to submit to NDEP, and they better be prepared to show up in mass at public meetings AND Reno Courtroom 6 on January 9. This thing still hinges on the decision of the judge; but we can't let the public comment period pass by without active participation.
The official dates and times for public comments and meetings will be widely published and will definitely be available on the NAG website http://nolandfill.wordpress.com/ , the Nevadans Against Garbage Facebook page, and this blog.
Thanks again to friends of BLACK ROCK/HIGH ROCK, for letting me post here, thanks to Vinson Guthreau, NDEP, in answering my questions, and thanks to each of you for stopping by.
Opinions are my own.