DADE CITY — State regulators have issued a draft of a letter that would permit a controversial landfill proposed for a site just southeast of Dade City.
The Department of Environmental Protection produced the draft Dec. 5 for Angelo's Aggregate Materials to operate a 90-acre landfill that would accept household garbage.
Still, the letter says at the top: "This draft permit is under department review and revision and may not represent the Department's intended or final agency action." A formal announcement is expected Jan. 12.
The disclaimer on the draft came as cold comfort to opponents, who said they would continue to challenge the project.
"We'll still provide information that will encourage them to do what's right," said Carl Roth, spokesman of an anti-landfill group, Protectors of Florida's Legacy.
Angelo's has submitted permit applications to DEP for a private, for-profit landfill on a site less than a mile from the Withlacoochee River and next to the Hillsborough River and the headwaters of the Green Swamp. The landfill would cover 1,069 acres and has been designed to initially take up to 3,000 tons of household waste per day. The proposed landfill would sit near a construction and debris landfill Angelo's already operates, as well as a former landfill operated by the county.
Angelo's plan goes "beyond existing technology and requirements," said project engineer John Arnold.
"It has to be a good project and safe to withstand this rigorous process," he said Thursday.
The draft letter from DEP deals with the solid waste permit needed to build the landfill. Arnold said he has not heard from DEP on a second permit — this one dealing with the impact on environmental resources — that also would be needed.
Recently, a host of groups opposing the landfill formed the Withlacoochee River Alliance. The group includes Environmental Alliance of North Florida, Floridan Aquifer Legal Defense Organization, Florida Defenders of the Environment, Gulf Restoration Network, Hernando County Audubon Society, and Rainbow River Conservation Inc.
"We've heard from citizens, opposition groups, a broad spectrum of the community," Arnold noted.
Even if Angelo's gets a state permit, it still can be challenged and reviewed by an administrative law judge. After that, county commissioners also must approve the project.
Lisa Buie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4604.