ELKINS - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday he had put his signature on the bill designed to help fund the official closing of the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill, and local officials are elated.
Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, the lead sponsor of the bill, said she was thrilled by the signing. Campbell said she and other officials will attend a ceremonial signing with Tomblin that is being arranged, although no date for the event has yet been set.
House Bill 4339, which could lift the heavy financial burden associated with the landfill by using moneys from the Solid Waste Authority Closure Cost Assistance Fund, was approved at approximately 10 p.m. on the final night of the Legislative Session.
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith said Wednesday they were pleased and relieved by the bill's signing.
"The (West Virginia) Department of Environmental Protection has contacted us and will be coming to inspect the landfill on April 24," Smith said. "On June 8, we will be able to make application for the funds to cap and close the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill. The application will be in the mail that day."
Smith said the bill will allow the city to tap into the West Virginia Landfill Closure Assistance Program.
"The funds will be used for the cap and closure of the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill," Smith said. "This represents approximately $8.7 million in funding. We hope when the application is approved to be able to decrease the amount of the $6.25 residential surcharge (on the city's garbage customers)."
Smith said once the landfill is capped and closed, the city will still be responsible to monitor the landfill and haul away the leachate.
"I am thrilled that someone listened to me about getting this funding," Smith said. "I want to commend Delegate Denise Campbell for all of her hard work in this project."
Broughton also expressed his gratitude to local officials.
"I want to thank Lisa for her hard work and for Denise for sponsoring this bill," Broughton said. "I am so happy for their work, as well as Delegate Bill Hartman, Sen. Clark Barnes and Sen. Greg Tucker."
Other sponsors of the bill were Delegates William Hartman, D-Randolph, Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, and Dana Lynch,
Campbell said HB 4339 passed unanimously through the House Judiciary and Financial committees, as well as on the House floor, before going to the Senate Judiciary and Financial committees. The bill passed both Senate committees, but was amended to include a facility in Wayne County. The amended bill passed the House floor with only one delegate voting no, she said.
Campbell said the bill was needed because the deadline for applications for state assistance to close landfills was in 2000, but the city of Elkins did not apply. The Elkins-Randolph County Landfill was closed in September 2011, but the landfill has about $333,700 in annual operating costs and $262,274 in outstanding debt. The landfill has not generated any revenue since its closure.