The state Senate’s recent approval of legislation that would loosen state regulations on the location of giant landfills  — a change conservative lawmakers and industry lobbysists claim is necessary in order for new landfills to be built in the state — appears to be sparking a loud and growing chorus of opponents.
This morning, the Winston-Salem Journal became the latest newspaper to editorialize against the bill , stating:
“North Carolina need not become the dumping ground for other states. As for our own trash, we can first greatly reduce its volume and then find appropriate places for new landfills closer to the time when they are needed.”
Meanwhile, environmental advocates have launched a grassroots campaign to defeat the bill before it becomes law. According to a new alert sent out by the N.C. League of Conservation Voters earlier today, the legislation includes provisions that would:
“-Promote local governments importing trash from out of state, which would cause North Carolina to become the entire nation’s dumping ground for solid waste. The News & Observer said we could become the “garbage Capital of the East Coast.”
-Drastically weaken regulations on toxic water (leachate) by eliminating a regular cleaning schedule and only requiring inspections of the drainage system once every five years. Leachate is a water-based solution that may be comprised of alcohols, acids, sulfates, chloride, ammonia, lead, and PCB’s, which can potentially drain into our drinking water.
-Allow landfills to be built within 1/3 of a mile from National Wildlife Refuges, State Parks, and state game lands.
-Take away the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s ability to deny permits if the solid waste facilities will damage wilderness lands, wildlife refuges, critical fisheries habitat, or cultural sites and drastically lowers the size of the protective buffer zones around those areas.
-Eliminate the minimum required amount of financial assurance permit holders must provide for reclamation and clean-up of landfill sites, allowing poorly-funded companies with little capital to enter the landfill market. This means you would pay the bill if any contamination occurred.”
Echoing the Journal, the alert goes on the point out that “North Carolina has expanded landfill capacity by an estimated 30% since 2007 while also reducing its solid waste through increased recycling.”
There is no definitive word yet on the House’s plans for the bill, but the proposal would seem to mesh well with lawmakers’ plan to disenfranchise thousands of poor, African-American voters in the eastern part of the state — the people most likely to live next to the new mega-landfills — with new Voter ID legislation.