Critique of Green Group Holdings, LLC Host Agreement

Critique of Green Group Holdings, LLC Host Agreement

One Response

  1. Brad Walter says:

    Some comments:

    There are clearly problems with the Host Agreement as currently posted on your website. In its present form, it is clearly unacceptable for a number of reasons including the following:
    It exposes the county to liability is should not have to assume for any private enterprise

    Lack of a time limit for the completion of permitting and development of the property to keep the agreement in effect is nonsense. GGH claims that completing the permitting process is not in their control, but to a large extent it is.

    Section 3(e) of the agreement is captioned “No County funds”, but the language of the section obligates the county to pay for a wide range of costs and expenses involved in providing the support for the GGH application and permitting process.

    In general, section 3 prevents the county from exercising its governmental responsibility to govern and protect its citizens with regard to the development and operation of this site. The County is required by this agreement to be an advocate for GGH. The county is required to cooperate with GGH to the fullest extent authorized (not just required) by law with respect to the permitting and operation of the site. As long as GGH isn’t violating any laws, that obligates county government to side with GGH against the citizens of the county even if the citizens predominantly oppose the project. It is not appropriate for government to enter into an agreement that requires it to advocate against its electorate or in fact what is best for the future of the county if in conflict with the permitting or legal operation of the landfill. That is nonsense. No governmental authority should sign an agreement creating such an obligation.

    Council of Government is not defined. Section 3(d) therefore, can be interpreted as requiring country government to cooperate with GGH in its interacting with any government agency. That costs the county money they can’t recover from GGH.

    Contrary to the statement in the critique, section 3(c) does not require the county to cooperate with GGH on any current or future solid waste plan. It only affirms that GGH can propose modifications. It does not say that the county has to adopt them.

    Section 4 (a) uses the phrase “consistent with” rather than “comply with.” It must comply as well as being consistent with the standards. Also, are there other generally recognized standards with which it should comply?

    I don’t see provision for access to the site for inspection by consultants or experts hired by the county or for any monitoring other than a visual inspection. What about on site air quality and ground water monitoring?

    The wording under section 4 (c) is totally unacceptable. When you read it carefully it can be interpreted to mean GGH can accept any waste that it is legally allowed to accept, including out of state waste, coal ash, incinerator ash and like substances are not listed as hazardous waste. The language at the end of this section can be interpreted to eliminate all the protection that you thought you were getting in the definition of Excluded waste and in the first three-quarters of this same section of the agreement. The wording can be interpreted to mean the exclusions of waste listed only apply to “other than such waste that the company may accept for solidification/stabilization and disposal in the Landfill, municipal hazardous waste from conditionally exempt small quantity generators, out-of-state waste, coal ash, sewage sludge, regulated Medical Waste, or regulated Hazardous Waste (“Municipal hazardous waste”) as those terms are defined in Title 30, Chapter 33, Section 330.3 of the Texas Administrative Code in effect on the date of this Agreement.”
    This could be sloppy drafting or it could be deliberate. It must be worded in an absolutely crystal clear manner. Interpretation should not depend on comma placement.

    There is no mention of tires. Some landfills take them. They should not be allowed since the corrosion of the steel belts when buried en-mass cause landfill fires.

    The height restriction in section 4(e) is ridiculous. It shouldn’t be more than our normal tree level to maintain the rural appearance of the country side. Most of our trees aren’t about 50 feet in height. If that makes the landfill uneconomical, then locate it somewhere that is already an eyesore.

    4(g) means that the 50 mile limit that GGH talked about in public meetings is meaningless. So this facility will be getting solid waste from anywhere in Texas that needs to send it. Also note that this section does insure that the site will only receive waste originating in Texas. It includes waste that comes from licensed transfer stations in Texas. What is the origin of waste going through transfer stations?

    If the property has an entrance from Hommanville trail, GGH should be responsible for cleanup not only on the portion adjacent to the site but all the way to the feeder road(s) connecting to Hommanville trail.

    The county has given up rights of site plan approval including the perimeter buffer and the entrance to the property. That is nonsense. The company can do what it wants as long as it complies with TXDOT and TCEQ requirements. These organizations are not concerned about things outside thier specific and relatively narrow charters. The county should insist on site plan approval. The county should be looking at lighting, dust mitigation on access roads (are roads on the site required to be paved and maintained or are they just gravel or sub-base).

    Normal hours of operation are not defined except that they cannot include Sunday. The remainder of the week, this site could operate 24 hours per day.

    In section 6(e) no host fee is paid if the tipping fee is less than $10 per ton. I cannot asses what portion of the waste stream is received for a tipping fee less than this amount. If it is small, then get rid of the exclusion because it is insignificant cost to the landfill. If it is large, then it shouldn’t be excluded because the county facilities are still being used and road repair will increase regardless. Also this facility is acting as a transfer station as well as a landfill. The tipping fees only apply to waste that is dumped in the landfill. The traffic through the county for a transfer station is actually greater per ton of waste going through the transfer station because it is trucked in, and a least a portion is trucked out again. Also this site may operate as a transfer station long after it ceases to accept waste for the landfill. The county is looking at this site as a revenue generator and is most likely greatly underestimating the costs it will incur as a result of increased truck traffic, monitoring and mitigation efforts. By the way if the site were in operation today what would the county tipping fee be? Has anyone asked? What do they charge the host county at their other sites?

    The county is responsible for paying a tipping fee for any waste delivered to the site by a resident of the county from a residence in the county. That only makes sense if the resident isn’t paying a tipping fee as in a county cleanup day. However, the agreement doesn’t say that. It also doesn’t specify that the county tipping fee will be at a lower price than tipping fees for waste originating outside the county. Unless the county is getting preferential rates for county waste, none of the sections dealing with tipping fees payable to the county belong in this document. Also the annual increases should be on a not to exceed basis tied to the CPI not an automatic increase tied to the CPI. Otherwise, the county will end up paying more than others over time. Commercial customers will negotiate and market considerations will affect the price. The county should not give up its ability to get a better deal.

    If GGH stops paying the host fee, the county cannot seek an injunction to halt operations. The county should not give up its legal rights. If there is a legitimate dispute the court won’t issue an injunction. However, if GGH is withholding payment as a lever as it is alleged to have done in Georgia, this gives the county some leverage to get what it is owed.

    The requirement that an attorneys or experts hired by county indemnities raises substantial potential for conflict of interest and should be eliminated from the agreement.

    Section 7 is essentially all baloney. It is stuff they would do anyway out of economic interest directly or for the benefit of the mixed use development. The so-called environmental park is nothing more than the mixed use development.

    There may be additional problems with this agreement, but these are the ones I see based on a quick reading. I am not an attorney but I have 10 years’ experience on a zoning board of adjustment, most of those as chairman, and I have decades of experience negotiating and reviewing large commercial contracts with major corporations.

    Some questions:
    Has anyone seen an environmental impact statement?
    Has the environmental impact been evaluated by an independent body? In most states and municipalities, the authority having jurisdiction (planning board or zoning board) has the ability to hire its own experts as part of the approval process and the applicant has to pay the bill and they may not get approval to do what they want with the site plan they want.

    Other information:
    I am not in favor of the landfill but this website does not present convincing arguments against it. Only claims. The personal testimonials have a lot of emotional impact. However, what is needed are ground water monitoring results, citations for environmental violations, air quality studies. You need quantitative data.
    You also instruct people to submit requests for information under the freedom of information act but offer little or no guidance where or how.
    The GGH website shows 5 sites in which they have ownership or operating interests and 3 sites in which they were involved with development. GGH is essentially advertising on their website site. The full extent of waste accepted at these sites is extolled. Go look at them and compare them to what they say they are going to do.
    You can also see images of the arrowhead and other Land fill sites on Google earth. The address of arrowhead is
    Arrowhead Landfill
    622 Tayloe Road
    Uniontown, AL 36786
    The Google location mark appears to be N of the actual entrance to the landfill off Tayloe Road. The landfill itself appears to be adjacent to the intersection of roads 1 and 21 to the lower left and perhaps slightly off screen depending on what magnification you use.

    The Google Earth display is also interesting because it has historical aerial views of the site and surrounding countryside starting before the landfill was created and extending to 2013.

    Brad Walter

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