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Jefferson County Port Authority considering stepping in to buy landfill

WINTERSVILLE — The Jefferson County Port Authority is considering purchasing the closed Crossridge Landfill, obtaining grants to remediate environmental issues and repurposing the land.

The port authority met Wednesday and approved a resolution opposing a plan by Greenway Reclamation of Garden City, N.Y., to reopen the landfill, make existing environmental remediations in exchange for the ability to accept a large amount of out-of-state waste.

The resolution states the need for a new landfill doesn’t exist, the landfill will accept out-of-state waste and create a safety hazard for planes using the county airport, which is located about 4,500 feet from the landfill.

The landfill is located off Fernwood Road in Cross Creek Township.

Several other organizations, including the county commissioners, Steubenville City Council, the county health board and Wintersville Council have expressed opposition to the reopening of the landfill.

County Commissioner David Maple said the county is exploring a land-use plan to stop any development near the airport which would be a hazard to planes.

“We need a land-use plan so the airport is protected,” he said.

Cross Creek Township trustees on Monday began the process of getting zoning in the township. The process will take about six months before it would go to voters.

Jay Zatta, port authority member, said the port authority could think outside the box and purchase the property and get grants to make environmental improvements, including the proper closure of the landfill. He said a levy could be placed before the voters to help fund the purchase. He said the port authority needs to know the expectations of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency concerning the landfill.

“It would be worthwhile for the community,” he said.

Maple said he is against using taxpayers’ money to close the landfill. He said proceeds from oil and gas drilling on the property could be used to purchase and clean up the landfill.

Maple said regulatory agencies such as the Ohio EPA receive money from tipping fees at landfills. If the landfill is closed, the state loses out on revenue, he said.

“We have a system of the regulators making money off the regulated,” he said. “The EPA is skilled in listening to people saying they don’t want a landfill and then licensing it.”

Port authority Chairman Greg Nemeth said the purchase of the landfill is worth pursuing. He wants a meeting with the state attorney general’s office, which has been pursuing environmental fines against Crossridge in court.

A subcommittee made up of four port authority members was named to pursue the purchase idea.

The port authority also agreed to apply for up to $350,000 through the Ohio Development Services Agency for the second phase of the remediation of the soil at a former gasoline storage facility on South Third Street,

Ten fuel tanks were removed from the site, with a $250,000 grant through the Ohio Development Services Agency. The tanks,which date back to the 1920s, were removed at the end of January.

The second phase will include the removal of soil and preparing the land for future development.

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