FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2017
Appeals Court upholds DEP permits for MRC/Fiberight project in Hampden
- Judge affirms that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection acted properly when issuing permits for the MRC/Fiberight recycling and solid waste processing project
ELLSWORTH, ME - On Wednesday, March 15 2017, Justice Murphy of the Maine Business Court released a decision affirming the actions of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in issuing permits to the Municipal Review Committee, Inc. (MRC) and Fiberight for a new recycling, organics and solid waste processing project in Hampden, Maine.
MRC, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the affordable and environmentally sound disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the long term, is very pleased with the decision.
"On behalf of the 115 member communities who plan to send their MSW to Fiberight in 2018, we are very thankful that Justice Murphy made this decision and appreciate the timeliness in which it was issued," said MRC Executive Director Greg Lounder. "We were confident that the courts would uphold the permits because of the thorough and detailed review that DEP took before issuing them. Despite the belief that we would prevail, the decision provides relief and additional assurances for our project."
The court's decision is comprehensive and ruled on each of the points that were brought up by the opponents.
The court determined that the DEP issued the project's permits consistent with the laws and regulations governing solid waste processing facilities, and that the administrative record contained substantial evidence to support DEP's determinations of Fiberight's financial ability; MRC, Fiberight and their consultants' technical abilities to design, construct, operate, maintain and close the proposed facility; and that the Fiberight facility is consistent with the State of Maine's Solid Waste Management Hierarchy. The Court also ruled that DEP's acceptance of Fiberight's self-certification of Post- Hydrolysis Solids as a non-waste is correct and that the DEP acted consistent with its authority in declining to hold a public hearing while it conducted a typical review of applications through public meetings, public comments, and technical analyses of application materials.
"The decision sends a strong signal that our project adheres to the environmental laws and regulations in Maine," said Lounder. "We are delighted with the decision and look forward to assisting Fiberight with reaching its financial close to continue with constructing a modern recycling and MSW processing facility that can accept MSW beginning in April 2018."
The MRC, a non-profit organization, was formed by municipalities in 1991 and has played a critical role in ensuring our long-term, affordable and environmentally sound waste disposal ever since. After reviewing many different disposal options for post 2018, including staying with PERC, MRC chose Fiberight, a state-of-the-art recycling and MSW processing facility to be constructed in Hampden. This combination of straight forward technologies will help move solid waste management and true resource recovery well into the 21st century. In July 2016, DEP issued the permits needed in order to construct the project. Within a month, USAE, PERC and Exeter Agri-Energy filed an appeal to the Maine Superior Court of the permits. Despite the appeal, the MRC began construction of the road and utilities in the fall of 2016. Online at