(a) The Legislature finds that the potential impacts of commercial solid waste disposal facilities have a deleterious and debilitating effect upon the transportation network, property values, economic growth, environmental quality, other land uses, and the public health and welfare. These impacts are borne predominantly by the local residents in the communities where the facilities are located. The Legislature also recognizes that economic benefits exist for having a solid waste facility, including new jobs in the local community and increased tax and fee revenues for the state. The largest of facilities authorized to operate in West Virginia, Class A facilities, receive up to thirty thousand tons of solid waste per month. Class A facilities inevitably cause the most severe impacts to the local area. The Legislature further finds that Class A facilities cause significant impact on the local community above and beyond those of smaller landfills, that this impact requires the local community be afforded the opportunity to participate in the decision of locating a landfill of this size in their community. Further, local citizens need governmental entities to assure and verify that the Class A facility will be developed and operated in a manner that complies with all laws, rules and regulations which regulate landfills, and that the local infrastructure and environment are appropriately suited for a Class A facility. As a result, the Legislature finds that a mechanism must be in place to allow for the local community to be a significant participant in the Class A facility siting and expansion decision-making process.
(b) Therefore, it is the purpose of the Legislature to allow the local decision for location of new Class A landfills by county referendum, and further that a petition process be established to allow demand for a county referendum for expansion of an existing Class A landfill or redesignation of a Class B landfill to Class A.