As reported this morning by the St. Petersburg Times, the state Department of Environmental Protection has slowed down its reconsideration of a controversial landfill permit application in Dade City.

The Times reports that the department has decided to consult with local leaders before a final decision is made. State Sen. Mike Fasano (who is opposed to the landfill) was told that such a consultation would take place last week. According to his legislative aide, Greg Giordano, that call never came. “He held off sending a letter to the DEP secretary hoping that outreach would be made but when it did not occur he sent his letter,” says Giordano.

The Department of Environmental Protection rejected a 2009 permit request from Angelo’s Aggregate Materials amid fears that the landfill could lead to sinkholes and be detrimental to the nearby environmentally sensitive Green Swamp. In recent months, the permit was revived, and signs seemed to point to approval by the state. Now, amid pressure from lawmakers and citizens, the process might soon be coming to a halt.

“Sen. Fasano hopes that the DEP will reach out and discuss the application with various governmental and citizen leaders,” says Giordano. “At the very least, the people who live near the landfill, the communities that could be impacted by it and the legislators who approved the money to clean up the Green Swamp, should all be consulted before the permit decision is made.”

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