Appeal of waste facility awaits stay hearing
PORTER COUNTY: Transfer station opposed by Porter, LaPorte counties
By Brian Williams
Northwest Indiana Times
Published February 20, 2006
Start of construction on a waste transfer station about one mile from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will depend on this week's decision on a delay request.
A hearing on a request for a stay of the permit issued to Great Lakes Transfer LLC will be heard Thursday in Indianapolis by the state Office of Environmental Adjudication, an administrative law court that reviews decisions of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Already postponed once, the stay hearing could again be pushed back if a request for a one-month continuance is granted to LaPorte County, which is appealing the granting of the station permit.
The department granted a permit for Great Lakes to build a 5-acre waste transfer station off County Line Road in LaPorte County in November 2005. The transfer station will take in up to 250 tons of garbage a day and ship it to landfills within 24 hours, according to Great Lakes' permit application.
The proposed site is 1,200 feet east of County Line Road, just south of the Amtrak railroad tracks. Trucks going to and from the site would cross Kintzele Ditch, with the potential to leak contaminants into the creek that runs through the national park and into Lake Michigan, opponents say.
Although the site is in LaPorte County, the proposed access is by County Line Road, which is in Porter County's jurisdiction. The road has a 10-ton weight limit because of the sandy soil beneath it, but user trucks weighing up to 30 tons would destroy the road, opponents say. Porter County Commissioner Bob Harper has said the county would fight any exception to the road's weight limit.
The group RATIONAL -- Residents Against Trash In Our Neighborhood Alliance -- has raised from $10,000 to $20,00 for legal costs involved in the effort, spokesman Larry Silvestri said. Funds raised by the group will be apportioned to the towns of Beverly Shores and The Pines toward their costs in the appeal, Silvestri said.
Stay or no stay, other hearings in the appeal process will continue through the spring and summer, with a projected final hearing set for August. If the stay is not granted, construction and operation of the waste facility would still need to wait until Great Lakes' renewed building and zoning permits, have expired.