Governor signs landfill moratorium

Gov. Robert Bentley appears to have ended the landfill fight in County Line – at least for the next two years.

Last Tuesday, the governor signed into law a bill that sets a two-year moratorium on new large landfills. State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, was the sponsor of the moratorium legislation.

The new bill follows on the heels of a similar moratorium on landfills that the governor signed earlier this year.

The difference in the new bill is that it spells out that the ban includes landfills that do not yet have the approval of ADEM. This includes a huge megalandfill proposed in Conecuh County in south Alabama as well as similar projects in Blount and Russell counties.

The governor’s original moratorium applied only to proposed landfills that exceed 500 acres or take in more than 1500 tons of waste each day.

The project in Blount County, known as the County Line landfill, called for a 2000-ton-per-day landfill on 219 acres of land. The property, formerly owned by the county for development of a proposed County Line Industrial Park, was sold by the Blount County Commission in 2005.

The site was annexed by County Line last year. Opposition

The County Line landfill had drawn opposition from several fronts. Attendance had been overwhelming at town council meetings as citizens opposed to the project (with a very few in favor, as well) voicing their opinions.

In addition, the Blount County Commission, the Blount County Solid Waste Authority, and the Regional Planning Commission had all gone on record as opposing any landfill development in the area.

The Trafford, Cleveland, and Locust Fork town councils had also joined the fight against the development of the landfill.

Locust Fork passed a resolution “strongly opposing approval of this facility by ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management), as it would have a tremendously negative impact on our community.”

The resolution went on to say “the route of travel for trucks hauling waste to the proposed landfill would likely be state highway 79, which has only one lane of travel in each direction and center turn lane. Being the main thoroughfare for our community and the location of several severe automobile accidents, the addition of approximately 75 round trips per day by waste-hauling services will create unacceptable risks for the families of Locust Fork.”

Blount County Probate Judge David Standridge said, “We (the Blount County Commission) had taken a stand against the landfill from the start. There are many different reasons for our opposition. Obviously, the impact on our environment is a huge factor and the effect on our roads and property values, as well.

“We have in place a plan that takes care of our landfill needs and this proposed landfill would primarily be taking in garbage from around the state. It is not needed and does not help our county or its residents.”