(a) Notwithstanding any provision in this article, article four, chapter twenty-two-c, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code, any other section of this code, or any prior enactment of the code to the contrary, and notwithstanding any defects in or challenges to any actions which were or are required to be performed in satisfaction of the following criteria, any person who on October 1, 1991, has:
(1) Obtained site approval for a commercial solid waste facility from a county or regional solid waste authority or county commission pursuant to a prior enactment of this code, or has otherwise satisfied the requirements of subsection (a), section twenty-five, article four, chapter twenty-two-c of this code;
(2) Entered into a contract with a county commission regarding the construction and operation of a solid waste facility, which contract contains rates for the disposal of solid waste anticipated to be disposed of at the facility;
(3) Obtained, pursuant to section one-f, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code, following a public hearing, an order from the Public Service Commission approving the rates established in the contract with the county commission; and
(4) An application for a permit for a commercial solid waste facility pending with the Division of Environmental Protection, or is operating under a permit or compliance order, is permitted to handle in excess of the limitation established in section eight of this article up to fifty thousand tons of solid waste per month at a commercial solid waste facility so long as the person complies with the provisions of this section.
(b) Any person desiring to operate a commercial solid waste facility which handles an amount of solid waste per month in excess of the limitation established in section eight of this article, but not exceeding the tonnage limitation described in subsection (a) of this section may file a notice with the county commission of the county in which the facility is or is to be located requesting a countywide referendum. Upon receipt of such notice, the county commission shall order a referendum be placed upon the ballot, not less than fifty-six days before the next primary or general election:
(1) Such referendum will be to determine whether it is the will of the voters of the county that a commercial solid waste facility be permitted to handle more than the limitation established in section eight of this article not to exceed fifty thousand tons per month. Any such election shall be held at the voting precincts established for holding primary or general elections. All of the provisions of the general election laws, when not in conflict with the provisions of this article, apply to voting and elections hereunder, insofar as practicable;
(2) The ballot, or the ballot labels where voting machines are used, shall have printed thereon substantially the following:
"Shall a commercial solid waste facility, permitted to handle up to, but no more than fifty thousand tons of solid waste per month be located within _________________ County, West Virginia?
/ For the facility
/ Against the facility
(Place a cross mark in the square opposite your choice.)"
If a majority of the legal votes cast upon the question is against the facility handling an amount of solid waste of up to fifty thousand tons per month then the division shall not proceed any further with the application. If a majority of the legal votes cast upon the question is in favor of permitting the facility within the county, then the application process as set forth in this article may proceed: Provided, That such vote is not binding on or require the division to issue a permit.
(c) If a person submits to a referendum in accordance with this section, all approvals, certificates and permits granted and all actions undertaken by a regional or county solid waste authority or county commission with regard to the person's commercial solid waste facility within the county under this article or article four, chapter twenty-two-c of this code, or previously enacted sections of articles five-f and nine, chapter twenty of this code are valid, complete and in full compliance with all the requirements of law and any defects contained in such approvals, certificates, permits or actions are cured and such defects may not be invoked to invalidate any such approval, certificate, permit or action.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, any person described in subsection (a) of this section who complies with the referendum requirement of this section and complies with the permitting requirements of the division provided in section ten of this article, shall not be required to comply with the requirements of sections twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven and twenty-eight, article four, chapter twenty-two-c of this code: Provided, That such person is entitled to receive a certificate of need pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a), section one-c, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code to handle the tonnage level authorized pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.
(e) The purpose of this section is to allow any person who satisfies the four criteria contained in subsection (a) of this section, notwithstanding any defects in or challenges to any actions which were or are required to be performed in satisfaction of such criteria, to submit the question of siting a facility that accepts up to fifty thousand tons within the county to a referendum in order to obtain a decision at the county or regional level regarding the siting of the facility and that submission of this question at the county level is the only approval, permit or action required at the county or regional level to establish and site the proposed facility.