Beveridge & Diamond
 

Site Assignment Process Streamlined: MassDEP No Longer Reviews and Issues Site Suitability Report

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. - Massachusetts Client Alert, July 22, 2010

As a result of changes to G.L. c. 111, § 150A in the FY 2011 budget approved by the legislature this month, applicants seeking site assignments for waste facilities governed by this statute no longer need to request and receive a site suitability report from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), significantly streamlining the process of permitting these facilities.  Applicants now skip the previous requirement of filing an application for site suitability initially with MassDEP and waiting up to 60 days for MassDEP to issue its report on whether the proposed site meets the siting criteria in G.L. c. 111, § 150A, before proceeding with the site assignment permitting process in front of the local board of health.  Applicants may now file the application directly with the local board of health, which must hold a public hearing within 60 days.  Previously, the board of health was required to hold a hearing within 30 days of MassDEP’s issuance of the site suitability report.

However, to the extent the project triggers review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), G.L. c. 30, §§ 61-62H, MassDEP will continue to have input on the review of the project.  The current regulations implementing G.L. c. 111, § 150A require an applicant to demonstrate that MEPA does not apply, that MEPA does apply and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required, or that the MEPA process has been completed and the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has issued a certificate or has determined that no EIR is required.  Whether the scope of MassDEP’s review under MEPA will contain as extensive a review of the site assignment criteria remains to be seen.

The legislature also changed responsibility for the issuance of construction and operating permits for refuse transfer stations handling less than 50 tons per day.  Local boards of health will now issue these permits, which had been the responsibility of MassDEP, based on performance standards that the statute indicates MassDEP will be developing.

For more information, please contact Marc J. Goldstein (mgoldstein@bdlaw.com and (781) 416-5715) or Stephen M. Richmond (srichmond@bdlaw.com and (781) 416-5710).