Repton files lawsuit against Conecuh Woods LLC

Published 9:23 am Monday, April 25, 2011

In a move that likely surprised no one, Mayor Terri Carter and the Town of Repton filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Conecuh County Commission and Conecuh Woods LLC seeking to set aside the commission’s approval of Conecuh Woods’ application for a landfill.

The 5,100-acre landfill would be located near Repton. Developers have said the landfill would have about 1,600 acres of disposal cells and accept waste from all states east of the Mississippi River and Louisiana.

The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday afternoon, follows the commission’s Monday approval of the application.

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The lawsuit states that the commission acted “arbitrarily and capriciously,” not only in its approval of the application, but in its public notice about the proposal and the ability of the public to comment on it.

“The commission did not have adequate information to properly consider and approve the application for the proposed landfill and acted arbitrarily and capriciously and in violation of applicable law in approving the application,” the lawsuit states.

“More specifically, the commission failed to provide adequate public notice and denied the public adequate opportunity to comment on the proposed landfill in violation of the ASWDA and the Conecuh County Solid Waste Management Plan.”

County attorney Richard Nix said it is the county’s policy not to comment on pending legislation.

A lawsuit over the landfill had been expected after Monday’s commission vote. Commissioners did not make any comments before or after their 3-2 vote.

Conecuh Woods must now gain approval from the Alabama Department of Environmental Manage-ment before its project can proceed.

Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a moratorium on new large landfills until ADEM and the Department of Public Health can review regulations for them, but it is unclear whether or how that affects the Conecuh Woods application, which was already submitted to the Conecuh County Commission when the governor’s executive order was signed.

Two bills pending before the Legislature could also affect the landfill application.

One would require that landfills be approved by a regional planning commission; no action by the planning board within 90 days would constitute a no vote.

A second bill would set a two-year moratorium on any new landfill that takes in waste from outside its county, including landfills that have not yet been approved by ADEM.