After more than a yearlong battle in court, the fight to keep a large hazardous waste facility out of Falls Township has finally come to a close.
On Friday, Israel-based Elcon Recycling Services officially withdrew its application with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to build a large facility in Falls. DEP has said it will discontinue review of the application.
The withdrawal also means Elcon will abandon a long-standing court appeal stemming from the Falls Township Board of Supervisors’ April 30, 2019 plan rejection.
An official from U.S. Steel told Falls officials that Elcon has also dissolved the option it had on a 23-acre parcel of land situated at the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, where the company had planned to build the hazardous waste treatment plant.
Typically, with land development projects, a would-be owner has an option on land, or purchases/leases it contingent upon the developer receiving the necessary approvals and the project moving forward. Elcon has ceased its land acquisition agreement for the U.S. Steel property.
In its letter to the DEP, Elcon cites “the current business climate, including impacts of COVID-19” as the reason for not continuing its pursuit of expansion into the U.S. via the Falls Township site.
A groundswell of opposition had followed the Elcon plan for the last several years. Residents from Falls, as well as Bucks County and throughout the region, regularly attended Falls Supervisors meetings along with representatives from environmental groups, urging the board to deny Elcon’s application.
Until early 2019, the township did not have an Elcon land development plan and could not formally review the project without one. In April 2019, following a review and opposing comments from a standing-room-only crowd, the board unanimously rejected the plan.
Now with the legal fight over, the Falls Supervisors are breathing a collective sigh of relief.
“On behalf of the Falls Township Board of Supervisors, I am pleased with Elcon’s decision to withdraw its application,” Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence said. “This plan was not a good fit for our community, which is why our board unanimously rejected the application last year.”