ELKINS - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Friday he is coming to Elkins, and his mission will make local leaders extremely happy: he's going to officially sign "the landfill bill."
Tomblin will travel to Elkins June 25 for a public signing of House Bill 4339, which could lift the heavy financial burden associated with the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill by using moneys from the Solid Waste Authority Closure Cost Assistance Fund. The bill was approved at approximately 10 p.m. on the final night of this year's regular Legislative Session.
Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, the lead sponsor of the bill, said she received word Friday that Tomblin will sign the bill at 11 a.m. June 25 at Elkins City Hall in Elkins City Council Chambers.
"I am just very, very pleased the governor is coming to Elkins for the special signing of this bill," Campbell said. "The bill is a big success for Randolph County residents and it will save our city quite a bit of money. I appreciate the support of members in the Legislature in getting this bill passed. It will allow Randolph County to be able to get the funds to close the Elkins Randolph County Landfill according to DEP regulations."
Campbell said members of the state Department of Environmental Protection have inspected the landfill, and the application process for funds will start the first day of eligibility.
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton said the news of Tomblin's visit is exciting.
"It is an honor to host the governor here at Elkins City Hall," Broughton said. "We are very excited for the passage of the Landfill Bill, and are looking forward to the ceremonial signing on June 25."
Other sponsors of the bill were Delegates William Hartman, D-Randolph, Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, and Dana Lynch, D-Webster.
Campbell said HB 4339 passed unanimously through the House Judiciary and Financial committees, as well as on the House floor, before going to the Senate Judiciary and Financial committees. The bill passed both Senate committees, but was amended to include a facility in Wayne County. The amended bill passed the House floor with only one delegate voting no, she said.
Campbell said the bill was needed because the deadline for applications for state assistance to close landfills was in 2000, but the city of Elkins did not apply. The Elkins-Randolph County Landfill was closed in September 2011, but the landfill faces about $333,700 in annual operating costs and $262,274 in outstanding debt. The landfill has not generated any revenue since its closure.