Fears of landfill holds up approval of county waste plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Greene County Commission held a special public hearing Monday to allow residents respond to their proposed 10-year solid waste plan.

As expected, many residents voiced their displeasure with wording in the plan that could allow the county to build a landfill.

As the meeting began, Terry Riperstein, of Gallet and Associates, a Tuscaloosa engineering firm, gave people a summary of what the plan currently stands for.

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“This is just a solid waste management plan, it in no way approves plans for a location or anything to do with any actual solid waste facility in this county,” Ripstein said. “This is only a plan for the management of solid waste. Any type of location or landfill or anything like that has to be done through a separate document and has to go through public hearings and all that. This is not that document.”

Building a landfill, Ripstein said, is not possible without input from the county.

“There are six factors that must be considered in any future proposal or future permit applications for the sighting of a landfill within this county,” Ripstein said. “One of the main factors in this is that prior to anything being finalized there has to be another public participation meeting and everything has to go through the right channels.”

No Garbage in Greene County, a group formed in opposition of bringing a landfill to the area, had their attorney, Tommy Jones, speak on their behalf Monday. Jones said the group did not oppose a 10-year solid waste plan, but did not approve of language that left the door open for Greene County to accept waste from other locations.

“No one has any objection to the plan, so long as that plan relates to waste that has been generated in Greene County,” Jones said. “There is a provision in that plan that addresses the handling of garbage created in Greene County. There are also provision that deal with the disposal of garbage from areas outside Greene County.”

One member of the group, Trudie Cox, asked the commission to consider future generations.

“We have the right to ask our county commissioners right now, in the name of Jesus, to let go of anything they have put in writing to get a garbage dump here to kill us,” Cox said. “We are asking right now, for you all to drop this. Choose life instead of death. We are asking the county commissioners to find another way to give people jobs.”

Honesty, Cox said, is all they ask of their elected leaders.

“We need our commissioners to stick with their word,” Cox said. “We need all of our leaders to give up whatever they are doing wrong and stop it now.”

Another concerned citizen, Eddie Walton, said he wondered which measures the 10-year plan would take to prevent terrorist threats.

“I wonder what the county will do about Homeland Security and protecting us from all of these open dumpsters,” Walton said. “There are terrorists everywhere and we have open dumpsters out there everywhere. How will the county monitor what is going in them?”

All of the questions presented to the commission at Monday’s public hearing will receive a written response. Another public hearing will also be scheduled, through a date has not been set.