Payback Time

Twelve Pennsylvania landfill operators are seeking a refund of nearly $4 million in overpaid solid waste tipping fees. In 2005, the companies won a ruling by the state's Commonwealth Court that allowed them to use sand or other alternative covers, which meant they weren't subject to the $4-per-ton fee charged by the state.

The Associated Press reported that the state has limited the amount of refunds it will give the companies. The state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) applied a statute that mandated companies to file a petition with the state within six months of the overpayment before a refund would be issued in order to stabilize the environmental programs that would be adversely affected. The fees were introduced in 2002 to pay for environmental programs and supplement a $1.3 billion gap in the state budget.

The dispute is scheduled to go before the Commonwealth Court early this month.