HARRISBURG – Legislation that would restrict where landfills may operate in the Commonwealth has been introduced by Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler).
“Currently, there are no restrictions in state law where a waste disposal site may be located,” said Bonner. “Under current state law, a waste disposal site may be located within or next to densely populated residential neighborhoods.”
As waste disposal sites often present issues of air, water and soil pollution, offensive odors, noise, traffic and declining property values, it is imperative that such sites not be located adjacent to densely populated neighborhoods.
Bonner is proposing legislation that would prohibit a waste disposal site, which needs governmental approval, from being located, reopened or expanded if it is within 3 miles of the border of any municipality which has a population density of 1,000 or more people per square mile. Currently, 871 of the 2560 municipalities in Pennsylvania have such a population density comprising less than 10% of the land mass in Pennsylvania; 663 of those municipalities are located within 3 miles of an abandoned landfill comprising approximately 5% of the land mass in Pennsylvania. Bonner notes there is significant land mass to locate new landfills in Pennsylvania without affecting densely populated communities.
The 3-mile distance from a densely populated area is a fair and reasonable restriction on the location of waste disposal sites, Bonner said. The scope of the bill would apply to any proposed new landfill site and to any proposed reopening or expansion of an existing landfill site within 3 miles of a densely populated municipality; which requires the issuance of permits from the Department of Environmental Protection or other governmental agency having jurisdiction thereover and which final administrative approval or final court approval of such permits, if challenged in court, has not been obtained.
The bill has been assigned to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for further consideration.
Representative Tim Bonner
8th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michelle Swab