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A call to oppose expansion of ash landfill

  Saugus Town Meeting members will get to vote later this fall on another resolution that would ban the expansion of the ash landfill on Route 107 near WIN Waste Innovations’ trash-to-energy plant. The four Precinct 10 Town Meeting members who initiated the article secured more than 200 signatures this week – enough to call for a Special Town Meeting in late October.

  “It is Therefore Resolved that the Representatives in Town Meeting, here assembled, convey our opposition to any further extension of the WIN ash landfill located on Route 107 and urge our state delegation to oppose any effort to modify the law or regulations relative to the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC),” says the article, which was signed by Town Meeting Members Martin Costello, Darren Ring, Peter Z. Manoogian, Sr., and Carla A. Scuzzarella.

  “This resolution will be sent to the entire delegation for Saugus as well as the DEP Commissioner,” it continued.

  Peter Delios, a member of the Landfill Subcommittee, is the lone Precinct 10 Town Meeting member who did not sign the petition supporting the proposed resolution. He recently voted in support of the WIN deal as a subcommittee member – an apparent reversal from his past position – which opposed expansion of the ash landfill. The Saugus Advocate attempted to reach him for comment this week, but he did not return calls.

  A petition for the proposed warrant article with 213 certified signatures was filed with the Saugus Town Clerk’s Office on Wednesday (Sept. 14) – less than a week before the Board of Selectmen are set to begin discussions on WIN Waste Innovations’ proposed deal to pay the town up to $18 million in return for permission to extend the life of its ash landfill by 25 years.

  The board’s meeting to consider WIN’s Host Community Agreement (HCA) is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Tuesday (Sept. 20) in the second floor auditorium at Town Hall. Members of the Landfill Subcommittee, which is co-chaired by Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano and Board of Health Chair William Heffernan, voted five to one with two abstentions in support of a motion to accept WIN Waste Innovation’s latest proposal and forward it to the Board of Selectmen.

  Meanwhile, State Rep. Jessica Giannino (D-Revere), whose district includes Precincts 3 and 10 in Saugus, and State Rep. Jeffrey Turco (D-Winthrop), along with the Alliance for Health and Environment, are hosting a meeting set for 6 p.m. Sept. 28 in the second floor auditorium of Saugus Town Hall at 298 Central St. The hosts have invited Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) officials to appear at the meeting to answer questions about the future of the landfill.

  Adoption of WIN’s HCA is contingent on whether MassDEP permits the company to expand an ash landfill that is expected to meet its capacity by the end of 2025. Any deal would also require input and backing from town officials, particularly the Board of Health. But, ultimately, the responsibility for negotiating a deal with WIN would rest with Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree.

  The resolution initiated by four of the five Precinct 10 Town Meeting members would be the latest in a series of various votes by Town Meeting and previous Boards of Selectmen opposing expansion of the ash landfill.

  “This would be no more or less symbolic than what the Landfill Subcommittee or the Board of Selectmen can do,” Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Peter Manoogian said this week.

  “Under our Town Charter, neither the selectmen, or any subcommittee – or even Town Meeting – for that matter, can sign a host agreement. The Town Manager is the only one who can do that,” he said.

  Manoogian said he hopes selectmen will vote at next Tuesday night’s meeting to set a date for the Special Town Meeting, which must be held within 45 days of the time that selectmen call for the meeting. Manoogian said he expects the meeting to be set for late October, based on conversations he had this week with the Town Clerk’s Office. “While a Chairman can set the agenda for an elected Board, in this case the people who signed the petition have set the agenda for Town Meeting. And selectmen are required to call for the Special Town Meeting,” Manoogian said.

  Here is a copy of the resolution that Town Meeting members will consider at the upcoming Special Town Meeting:

We the members of Saugus Town Meeting, the elected body that is the closest representative body to the citizens of Saugus, hereby adopt the following resolution:

  Whereas on November 16, 2021 Martin Suuberg, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, provided written communication that the (WIN landfill) fails to meet the necessary site suitability criteria to allow for expansion within the ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern) and that such an expansion proposal, under current regulations, “would not advance to the Saugus Board of Health.”;

  Whereas the constituent properties of WIN’s incinerator ash include toxic heavy metals and compounds not limited to but inclusive of Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and Mercury (known carcinogens and neuro-toxins) and that such represent a threat to the public health and the environment of Saugus, Revere, and Lynn.

  Whereas property values in East Saugus already lag behind the rest of the Town, agreeing to any creation or expansion of an incinerator ash dump at its present location would further adversely impact the property values in this area of Saugus.

  Whereas, Saugus Town Meeting has never allowed one precinct to accept unfair risks and burdens over the objection and concerns of the town meeting members of the affected precinct – Precinct 10;

  It is Therefore Resolved that the Representatives in Town Meeting, here assembled, convey our opposition to any further extension of the WIN ash landfill located on Route 107 and urge our state delegation to oppose any effort to modify the law or regulations relative to the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. (ACEC) This resolution will be sent to the entire delegation for Saugus as well as the DEP Commissioner.”

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