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Green Ridge letter, report released

The last few weeks have been busy ones for Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility, which received its second letter from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) declaring its Notice of Intent (NOI) to be administratively incomplete.

The company also recently released a demographics report regarding the race, income and home value statistics of residents living nearby the proposed landfill site.

Green Ridge submitted its NOI and Part A application for the landfill, to be located in Cumberland County, to DEQ Jan. 17.

March 20, a letter was issued to Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility President Jerry Cifor by DEQ officials stating the facility’s NOI was administratively incomplete. DEQ found issues that needed to be addressed in both the document’s disclosure statement and local government certification.

Green Ridge resubmitted its NOI, but another letter was issued July 1, again declaring the notice as incomplete. The letter cited Green Ridge’s disclosure statement, specifically on key personnel, as the primary source of the problem.

The letter to Cifor added that it appeared Green Ridge had failed to disclose past allegations of civil violations of environmental regulations relating to solid waste management by two of its key personnel, Scott. T. Earl and County Waste of Virginia, LLC (County Waste).

County Waste of Virginia, the owner of Green Ridge, was purchased by GFL (Green for Life) Environmental, a Canadian-based company, earlier this year.

Green Ridge is required to provide the missing information within 60 days of July 1. Company spokesperson Jay Smith said Friday, July 10, the company expects to submit that information to DEQ within the next several weeks.

Tuesday, July 7, Green Ridge released a report examining the demographic and economic make-up of the area surrounding the proposed facility.

In order to include all residents within five miles of the facility, the study, done by Magnum Economics, drew a 6.2 mile radius around the center of the site.

According to the release, the study determined the percentage of Black residents within 6.2 miles of the facility, 19%, is equal to that of the statewide population in Virginia. The percentage of Black residents within both 4.2 miles and 2.2 miles of the facility is 18%. However, this figure included both residents from the Cumberland side and Powhatan side of the proposed site.

The percentage of Black Cumberland County residents within 6.2 miles of the facility is 24%. The percentage of Black Cumberland County residents within one miles of the facility is 19%. The study states the percentage of Black residents in the county as a whole is 30%.

The study determined the median household income within one mile, 2.2 miles, 4.2 miles and 6.2 miles of the landfill is $52,699, $54,614, $54,520 and $52,948, respectively. Officials cited the median household income in rural localities of Virginia is $40,153.

In Cumberland County, the median household income within one mile of the facility, $50,775, was determined in the study to be higher than the median household income countywide of $45,328.

Officials stated in regards to the study that the median housing value across Virginia is $162,361.

Homes within 6.2 miles of the facility had a median value of $174,120. However, within Cumberland County, the median value of homes within a 6.2 mile radius was $138,689. The value within a one-mile radius was $138,439.

The release said this figure was approximately equal to the median housing value countywide of $139,570.

The employment level of residents within one mile, 2.2 miles, 4.2 miles and 6.2 miles of the landfill is 95%, 96%, 96% and 96%, respectively. The state average is 97%, according to the study.

Within Cumberland County, the employment level of residents within 6.2 miles of the landfill is 95%. The level for residents within one mile is 94%. The countywide level, per the release, is 95%.

Cifor emphasized in the release that race and economic makeup were not a determining factor in selecting Cumberland as the site of the landfill.

“The location was selected for its accessibility to County Waste’s service territory, its proximity to a state highway, the rural, sparsely populated nature of the county and the geology and hydrology of the site,” he said.

Landfill opponent Cumberland County Landfill Alert (CCLA) member Elizabeth Rankin said Monday the group was aware of the demographics report and the study was being reviewed by CCLA’s Leadership Team, legal counsel and independent experts. She said the report was possibly generated by Green Ridge in response to the recently passed Senate Bill 406 relating to policy regarding environmental justice.

Smith said Green Ridge was not required by legislation to do the study but chose to conduct it to “set the record straight.”