Lawmakers clashed over a proposal to delay Maine’s ban on out-of-state trash for two years. Supporters say the operator of the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town needs out-of-state construction debris to solve a sewage sludge disposal crisis. The landfill uses discarded furniture and appliances to “bulk up” sewage waste so it can be buried without destabilizing the landfill.

“This is a pause only,” said Rep. Mike Soboleski, R-Phillips. “The language in (the original ban) has not been altered or changed in any way. The dates have been adjusted to allow time for the professionals to work through this crisis and implement solutions.”

Soboleski said the delay would walk the state back from “the precipice of an environmental and health crisis” and ease the financial hardship caused when Casella Waste Systems announced it could no longer accept sludge at Juniper Ridge and must instead haul it to Canada.

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Author: Penelope Overton, Portland Press Herald