At a press conference yesterday held by Governor Christie a Roxbury, New Jersey resident came forward to question the governor about what is being done to stop the smell and toxins coming from the Fenimore Landfill, and why the DEP has not offered up any answers.
Christie placed the blame on former landfill owner Richard Bernardi.
"The fact is that you have an extraordinary irresponsible landfill owner who broke the law,” Christie said.
Bernardi’s Attorney Matthew Fredericks said that Christie is placing the blame on his client simply because it’s convenient for both him and the DEP.
“The governor and the DEP have repeatedly tried to assert and have asserted that Strategic Environmental Partners (SEP) broke the law in terms of the material they brought in. That’s not true, it’s never been proven true, every single thing that Mr. Berndari and SEP brought in there was approved by the DEP,” he said.
The concerned resident also asked if the waste in the landfill could be trucked out and placed somewhere else, a question that the governor quickly dismissed stating that would just cause more problems and more odors.
“It needs to be capped and it’s going to be capped,” Christie assured.
Fredericks isn’t buying that promise however.
“It’s interesting that he says that now, we’ve been saying for about two years that the property needs to be capped and we’ve been saying that the remedy was never to let the DEP take over the property, but to let SEP continue with its capping efforts,” he said.
Bernardi chimed in to discuss the progress that SEP had made.
“We had the odors down to zero the day that they took the property. They never tested the property that day, they just took it,” he said.
A report from the DEP on capping costs was due back in October and neither Bernardi nor the town has seen any information regarding that report at this time.
Meanwhile, according to Bernardi, the cost of capping the landfill is extremely high.
“Our numbers look at about $4.5 million to cap it, that includes everything,” he said.
That may be the capping cost, but there is also a post capping period where law requires that the landfill is monitored for thirty years which will end up costing an additional tens-of- millions of dollars.
So who is really to blame for this ongoing odor?Watch Chasing New Jersey weeknights at 10pm on My9 and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!