County asks court to make final judgment in lawsuit against Camp Ripley

The Seventh Judicial District Court decided in favor of Morrison County on two of three counts in litigation filed against Camp Ripley. Now the county is asking the court to decide the third, asking for the decision during an April 10 hearing.

Morrison County filed suit against Camp Ripley in January 2016, after it failed to procure required permits for its landfill and waste facilities, something the 53,000 acre military base had always done in the past.

The court held in an Oct. 17, 2016, decision that Camp Ripley’s Type II demolition facility and transfer station are subject to, and must comply with, the county’s solid waste ordinance, including its licensing requirements.

Camp Ripley’s argument centered on the fact that the waste was not solid waste, as defined by the county’s ordinance and not subject to licensing requirements. The court did not agree

While the court found that Camp Ripley’s operation for the land spreading of petroleum-contaminated (PC) soils is subject to and must, if there is no conflict with federal or state law or policy, comply with the ordinance, including licensing requirements, it determined there may be a conflict.

The conflict lies between the licensing of Camp Ripley’s operation for the land spreading of PC soils and the U.S. Army’s goal of reaching net zero waste, if the county requires Camp Ripley to haul PC soils to the county landfill.

The county claims there is no conflict, since, according to court documents, the county does not intend to deny the Minnesota National Guard’s license application for the purpose of requiring Camp Ripley to haul its PC soil to the county landfill. In fact, the county said it cannot, under its permit, accept for disposal at least some of the PC soils Camp Ripley is currently disposing of in its land spreading operation.

The court documents say the county simply wants Camp Ripley’s method of disposal of the PC soil to be licensed as required by the ordinance.

The proposed order sent to the court asking for the April 10 hearing and decision, said Camp Ripley has not yet applied for a license with the county for its demolition facility and transfer station, with the Minnesota National Guard citing the reason as ongoing litigation in the matter.

The county also asked the court to impose a temporary injunction on Camp Ripley’s waste operations while the lawsuit is pending, or until the Minnesota National Guard applies for the county licenses.

The proposed April 10 hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the courtrooms at the courthouse in the Morrison County Government Center.

The county is being represented by Briggs and Morton, P.A., Minneapolis. The Minnesota National Guard is represented by the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General.