“NORTH HAMPTON — The Select Board declined an invitation by Hampton officials to join a Right-to-Know lawsuit against the Coakley Landfill Group.
Select Board Vice Chairman Larry Miller said Monday he was approached by Hampton’s town attorney at a recent CLG meeting about North Hampton joining the suit, which asks a judge to direct the CLG, which funds remediation of the Coakley landfill, to turn over all documents sought by lawmakers in a January Right-to-Know request.
Hampton motioned last month to intervene in the Superior Court suit, its selectmen concerned the landfill is leaching perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, into its public drinking water.
The suit was filed March 16 by state Reps. Mindi Messmer, Renny Cushing, Phil Bean, Henry Marsh and Mike Edgar, as well as former Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine. It was also filed against Portsmouth City Attorney Bob Sullivan, who heads the CLG’s executive committee. The lawmakers have criticized the CLG for keeping certain documents from the public, but Sullivan has said certain documents are not released due to attorney-client privilege…
‘I’m just afraid if we go down this road to sue ourselves, what do we gain and how many years will it take to get this thing decided?’ Miller said Monday.
North Hampton is one of three municipalities that are part of the CLG, which includes federal agencies and private companies that used the landfill. The landfill is now a Superfund site, and the CLG is charged by the Environmental Protection Agency with funding remediation at the site. North Hampton shoulders 4.06 percent of the group’s remediation costs. Portsmouth and Newington are the other municipalities…
‘We should be spending our money to find the engineering solutions to fix the problem at Coakley,’ Miller said. ‘We should spend our money on engineering and science and not on lawsuits, which will do nothing.’
Miller said public information about the landfill has devolved due to press reports and that Coakley has become a ‘political football.’ ‘Unfortunately, what you read in the newspaper, it’s enough to sell newspapers, but it doesn’t tell you anything more than we already know,’ Miller said, referring to reports on a ‘supposed deficit of funds, which may never occur.’ ”
Read the full article by Max Sullivan