Commentary

Editorial: Cooper environmental veto should stand

A Fayetteville Observer editorial hits the nail on the head this morning with its call on state lawmakers to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto of the dreadful proposal that’s come to be known as the “garbage juice” bill. Here’s the Observer in “Leave the ‘garbage juice’ bill dead”:

We have to wonder: Were our lawmakers celebrating the passage of the Brunch Bill a little early when they also passed the Garbage Juice bill? They certainly couldn’t have been thinking clearly.

The brunch legislation lets restaurants and retailers sell alcoholic beverages at 10 a.m. on Sundays, two hours earlier than the law currently allows. Cities have to approve the earlier sales too before they are allowed. Raleigh and Carrboro have already done so. Fayetteville will likely follow suit soon — it’s on the City Council’s Aug. 3 agenda and Mayor Nat Robertson says he hopes to have it legal here by Sept. 1. “It’s common sense to me,” Robertson said.

But there were no signs of common sense in the legislative approval of a measure that would allow landfill operators to “aerosolize” the contaminated liquids that leak from under landfills. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Quality to approve permits that allow spraying of the “garbage juice” into the air over the landfill, where it will then evaporate. It is likely the cheapest way to take care of a problem that accompanies any garbage-disposal operation. But that liquid is highly toxic and it’s not hard to imagine the fine mist drifting a bit from the landfills to adjoining neighborhoods.

In many cities and counties, landfills tend to be located among poor, often minority, neighborhoods, where residents already must put up with the flies, rodents and heavy truck traffic that are standard features of municipal garbage disposal. Adding the rancid mist of “garbage juice” is more than an insult — it’s an assault.

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the Garbage Juice bill, as he should have. If lawmakers try to override that veto, their drinking privileges, with brunch or otherwise, should be permanently revoked.

You can learn more about the utterly absurd garbage juice/”leachate” legislation and the Guv’s veto by reading Policy Watch reporter Lisa Sorg’s stories here, here and here.

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