Bethlehem landfill provides public benefit to N.H.

On behalf of North Country Environmental Services, we would like to thank Attorney General Kelly Ayotte for her public clarification to Seth Goldstein’s recent, inaccurate and misleading opinion letters to this publication (“Landfill settlement benefits New Hampshire,” Feb. 1-14 New Hampshire Business Review). Goldstein is among a small group of Bethlehem residents circulating misinformation about our facility.

I would like to take this opportunity to expand on the attorney general’s opinion, by sharing with you why and how NCES provides public benefit to the entire state of New Hampshire.

NCES is a municipal solid waste facility that receives approximately 15 percent of out-of-state waste and not the 40 percent that Mr. Goldstein referred to, which means we accept 85 percent of waste generated right here from New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services had deemed NCES as providing a “substantial public benefit” to the state of New Hampshire and has permitted the facility to receive an estimated 2,050,000 cubic yards of waste. On an annual basis we receive about 140,000 tons of waste, in comparison to Turnkey, the state’s largest landfill, which receives on average over 1,212,000 tons of waste per year.

We really do play an important role in the state’s waste management, and we also work very closely with the state on permitting, inspections and regulations. Our facility is a needed resource for the state’s solid waste management.

It is true that we are a business, our business happens to be waste management. And like any other business we report our profits and losses. I will argue against Mr. Goldstein’s comment that we exploit “our land, our environment, and our laws for financial gain,” what he really is saying is that he is opposed to having landfills operated by private enterprise. While the many benefits of private enterprise may have to be defended in some quarters that is presumably not the case among the readers of New Hampshire Business Review.

Lastly, I would like to strongly state, that NCES does not accept hazardous waste. In 2004, there were some allegations made publicly that a local hotel developer had concealed asbestos-containing materials in among other demolition debris.

The developer was convicted of burying large quantities of asbestos-containing materials in a 50,000 cubic-foot pit at the back of the hotel property. The NHAG’s office concluded that it could not prove that asbestos ever went into our landfill and entered into a consent decree with NCES based only on its allegation that NCES’ waste inspection procedures were inadequate, an allegation NCES denies; however, we have and will continue to cooperate with the attorney general’s office. Among our benefits provided to the state of New Hampshire, it has always been our desire to cooperate with the town of Bethlehem.

Our door is always open and we welcome any feedback and we also welcome you to visit our facility. NCES is a needed business for the state’s waste management control.

Kevin Roy is division manager of North Country Environmental Services.

Categories: Opinion