It's a great big hole in the ground that's going to be filled with waste materials. Lee County officials say that's a dump. State officials say it's not.
Lee commissioners’ chairman Charlie Parks says the Duke-Charah plan appears to be a safe use for ash – except for what they call it.
“We think this is a landfill like anything else,” he said. “You can call it what you want, but it’s a hole in the ground and you’re filling it up.”
It seems that most reasonable people would agree that a hole in the ground that is filled with waste material is a dump. So how can it be that this hole in the ground, to be filled with waste material, is not a dump? Well, it's because the state specifically said that this dump is not a dump. Because that's what Duke Energy & Pollution wanted. You see, if they admitted that this dump was a dump, they would have to pay dumping fees.
Lee County argues that the mine project is essentially a landfill. Under state solid waste law, counties award franchises for privately built landfills that typically include host fees of $2 or more per ton of waste.
The two-month-old legislation – which for the first time in North Carolina allows mines to be filled with ash – describes such projects as structural fill, preparing land for future development. The law doesn’t mention host fees.
“The General Assembly basically gave (Duke) a handout,” Lee County manager John Crumpton said. “Really, this is a cost avoidance issue for Duke Energy.”
No, this dump isn't a dump, says Duke Energy & Pollution. It's a "structural fill" site.
Host fees are associated with landfills, and this is a structural fill where the land will be restored for an intended use,” [Duke contractor Charah’s chief operating officer, Scott Sewell] said.
See? Not a dump. Because we said so! Therefore, we don't owe you a dime, Lee County!