For Immediate Release - May 21, 2010

AG Martha Coakley Files Contempt Complaint on Behalf of MassDEP Against Owner of Crow Lane Landfill

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has asked a Suffolk Superior Court judge to find the owner of the Crow Lane landfill in contempt of court for defaulting on its obligations under a 2009 court-ordered judgment, as well as a March 29 order of the Superior Court to close the Newburyport landfill.

In a complaint filed this week, the AG's Office argues that New Ventures LLC, is in contempt of a March 29, 2010 ruling by Suffolk Superior Court Judge John C. Cratsley, ordering it to submit for MassDEP approval a full and complete estimate of how much it will cost to close the landfill and handle post-closure responsibilities. The order asks the court to order New Ventures to pay a civil penalty, to be determined by the court, for each day New Ventures remains in contempt of the March order. A hearing date has not been scheduled yet.

AG Coakley's office also filed a motion today requesting that the court find New Ventures in default of its obligation to make necessary stability changes to the landfill's perimeter berm and build the berm according to a MassDEP approved design plan, as required by an April 2009 final judgment. The berm surrounds the landfill's perimeter and supports the massive weight behind the landfill's slide slopes, holding the slopes in place and preventing the landfill mass from moving or collapsing.

In April 2009, AG Coakley's office reached a settlement with New Ventures whereby the company was ordered to finish capping the landfill by the end of November 2009, and to finish all remaining landfill closure work by the summer of 2010. The consent judgment resolved a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General's Office in 2006 against New Ventures for violating MassDEP enforcement orders, resulting in the release of noxious hydrogen sulfide gas.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ireland of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Environmental Protection Division, with assistance from paralegal Jennifer Venezia, MassDEP attorney Michael Dingle, MassDEP Northeast Regional Office Solid Waste Division Chief John Carrigan, MassDEP Northeast Deputy Regional Director Waste Enforcement Coordinator Susan Ruch, and MassDEP Northeast Regional Office Director Richard Chalpin.