- As the fight over the Keegan Landfill in Kearny, NJ moves toward a resolution, the Superior Court judge hearing the case is recommending that both parties find a compromise before the site's lease agreement expires this week.
- The main issues to be resolved are whether the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) can continue operating the construction and demolition landfill, and who will pay the estimated $30 million in post-closure costs.
- The town of Kearny wants the site to be closed, but the NJSEA has said it needs the tipping fee revenue that would come from operating until the end of 2019 to cover closure costs. The landfill is the only one left in northern New Jersey that accepts construction material.
Court filings describe the landfill's history as "torturous." The site originally operated from the 1950s to 1972, with few environmental protections in place, and Kearny was forced to cover it in 1987. In 2005, the Meadowlands Commission — recently merged with the NJSEA — reached an agreement with Kearny to reopen the site with the understanding that it would close in 2016.
As that deadline has approached, relations between the two sides have gotten worse. Earlier this year, Kearny officials issued an eviction notice to the NJSEA after it proposed the expansion and said that the agency only wants to keep the site to open make money. The NJSEA has disputed this motive and said it only wants to operate the site long enough to cover costs, because Kearny can't be relied on to help with closure expenses in the future.
These are only a few of the many factors involved in the site's long, complex history. The Passaic Valley Sewage Commission could see its disposal costs increase by more than $8 million if the site is no longer available. State officials have also raised concerns that the landfill might be needed to receive waste from future natural disasters.