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Florida to seek extension for Pasco landfill permit review

After months of opposition on the part of both lawmakers and area residents, the review of a controversial landfill permit in Pasco County has been delayed.

A 2009 landfill permit request from Angelo’s Aggregate Materials was rejected by the state Department of Environmental Protection amid fears that the landfill could lead to sinkholes and cause harm to the nearby environmentally sensitive Green Swamp. In recent months (following the appointment of new Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard), the permit was revived, and signs seemed to point to approval by the state. Though intense pressure from lawmakers (like state Sen. Mike Fasano) and citizens hasn’t led the department to outright reject the permit, the extension could mean that it will be more thoroughly reviewed.

In an email sent to Fasano’s office, a spokesperson for Protectors of Florida’s Legacy (one of the groups opposing the project) said the department will be seeking another time extension — until Dec. 2 — to further review the permit.

From the email:

We spoke with the Florida DEP’s general counsel today who stated they are requesting another time extension to December 2, 2011 for their landfill permit review. This request goes to all the parties involved in the administrative hearing process.

Based on the discussion with FDEP, the local district is apparently re-reviewing all the information submitted by the applicant from October 31, 2006 as well as the most recent content provided in June 2011. It seems the Tampa office is leading this review under the direction of new Director Gary Colecchio with Solid Waste in Tallahassee under Richard Tedder providing additional support. There were no indications that they are leaning in support of their original denial or may overturn it. We will continue to monitor progress and keep you posted as we learn more.

According to Greg Giordano, an aide to Fasano, the senator “would rather the application be denied outright,” but is pleased that the extra time will allow a new set of eyes to further review all the information that has become available. ”He continues to stand with the residents who have expressed their opposition to the landfill,” says Giordano.

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