County gets a jump on opposing landfill
Published 11:30 am Wednesday, September 17, 2014
As expected, Warren County will oppose renewing the permit for a landfill off Jeff Davis Road.
Supervisors voted 4-1 Monday to pen a letter to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to quash the application from Warren County Waste Disposal Inc. The topic is the subject of a public hearing Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at Warren Central High School.
The board will resume its stance “for several reasons,” said Board President Bill Lauderdale.
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“One of which is that the road that surrounds the 10-acre landfill is built for county weights, not highway weights,” he said, adding the county in 2013 streamlined garbage
collection to one hauler, thereby eliminating a need for any project tied to the topic.
If approved by DEQ, the action would reissue the municipal solid waste landfill permit to authorize building and operating the disposal area to lawfully accept non-hazardous solid waste. Multiple phone calls to a cellphone number listed on DEQ’s public notice for the hearing have not been returned.
Residential trash has not been collected on the site since the permit was first issued in 1986, when nearly two decades of backlash against the proposed landfill and legal maneuvering began. Original partners included W.T. Ewell, who died in 2002, his wife, Betty, and Vicksburg attorney Paul Kelly Loyacono. The latter two remain partners in the firm, according to annual reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Public meetings on expanding the site were held on three occasions between 1996 and 2003. Opposition was consistent, citing road conditions and potentially depressed property values if the landfill ever went full-scale. Construction on the site was given a green light by DEQ in 2003, a move county supervisors appealed to the courts. In August 2005, Holmes County Chancellor Janace Harvey Goree ruled in favor of the company, saying the site was OK’d by the state before new regulatory statutes took effect in 1991 and that new laws cannot be applied retroactively.
The lone dissenting vote to oppose the landfill operator’s plans came from District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon.
“Have you talked to anyone who represents the landfill?” Selmon asked Lauderdale. “Why should we want to deny the process of being re-approved?
The other four supervisors were quick to point out the strength of public opposition when the company sought to expand.
“Property, water, transportation needs … all that will be directly affected,” District 5 Supervisor Richard George said. “There was overwhelming support for Warren County not becoming a waste disposal site for other public entities.”
Residential waste collected in Vicksburg and Warren County has been trucked to landfills in Monroe, Natchez and elsewhere for years even when family-run garbage haulers were permitted.
Comments on the current application will be taken and entered into the official record, DEQ says in its latest public notice. Any appeals of the permit board’s decision must be filed in chancery court.
Those who want to comment in writing in advance of the October hearing may contact Charity Rockingham of DEQ’s permits division chief for its mining and solid waste management branch at Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board, P.O. Box 2261, Jackson, MS, 39225. The phone number for any additional information is 601-961-5171.
Copies of the proposed draft permit is available on DEQ’s website, at http://opc.deq.state.ms.us/publicnotice.aspx.