2014-04-10 / Front Page

Twp. awaiting word on host agreement with Richfield Landfill

By Gary Gould
810-452-2650 • ggould@mihomepaper.com

RICHFIELD TWP. – As the township awaits the final draft of a new host agreement for the Richfield Landfill, opposition to plans for the reopening of the site continues to grow.

A group of residents and businesses with investments already made in the Richfield Landfill came to the April 8 township board meeting to see what, if anything, the board planned to do with a proposed host agreement with TerRenova LLC – the company that wants to buy the closed landfill for $1 million.

Township Supervisor Joe Madore said the township board is still waiting on a final draft of the host agreement, which will put guidelines and restrictions on operations at the reopened landfill.

But recent talk of mining scrap metal and other items from the closed landfill has stirred concern among residents living around the landfill. Members of the Holloway Lake Association came to the April 8 meeting and asked the township board to do everything in its power to stop any mining operation before it gets started.

Julie Brandon, vice president and environmental chairman for the group, said homeowners are concerned about continued environmental damage to the community by the landfill, especially if it is reopened and mined.

“Nobody is listening to us,” she told the board. “That host agreement is the Holy Grail of protecting the environment here. If you don’t take this opportunity, we will hold each and every one of you responsible for what happens.”

Carman Rinaldi of Blue Skies Energy said he and his company, which collects and sells natural gas from the landfill, is concerned over the TerRenova deal. He said he and his company have a vested interest in what happens and points out Blue Skies has paid a lot of money to comply with state and local government demands at its area facilities.

“I’m disturbed by the TerRenova offer,” said Rinaldi. “I know the agreement is not public yet, but I’d like to see the final version. If they do mining there, it will affect us.” The landfill’s sophisticated methane capture system, which moves about 1.5 million cubic feet of methane daily into a pipeline running across the Midwest, is where Blue Skies has made a $6 million investment and Rinaldi said he doesn’t want to see that system damaged or disturbed.

Madore said the state of Michigan has passed what he calls “liberal” mining laws in recent years and he said a community has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt there will be a negative impact on the environment before it will block a company from moving forward with a project.

The township will hold a special meeting April 28 at 7 p.m. at its offices 5381 N. State Rd. to further discuss the host agreement.

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