Published 10:35 pm Monday, June 18, 2007
County right to oppose landfill plan
Getting in the middle of the affairs of another county is not a typical maneuver for our local commissioners.
So when the Escambia County Commission voted last week to oppose a landfill proposed for Conecuh County, their message - while largely symbolic - should have been heard loud and clear.
Our commissioners, while they unfortunately don't have an official say in whether Conecuh officials allow a 1,600-acre piece of property to be used as a landfill, showed concern for their own constituents as well as they entire region when they expressed their opinion about the project. And they have every right to - the landfill could affect the health not only of Conecuh residents but of Escambia residents as well.
The Conecuh landfill would be a huge venture - one that could receive garbage from across the country, not just Conecuh County and her neighbors.
Atmore City Council members have already said they oppose the project, as have several state and local economic development officials.
This landfill could jeopardize the health, quality of life and economic well-being of residents in south Alabama for years to come. The landfill would sit on at least one aquifer and sits near at least five others.
We can understand the temptation of Conecuh commissioners to approve the landfill project, considering the dollar signs that have been dangled in front of their eyes by developers.
But that money comes at such a steep price. We have a huge economic development project - ThyssenKrupp steel mill - moving into our region. Would spinoff industries and new residents want to be located near the largest landfill in the United States?
We doubt it.
Beyond the money, however, such a large landfill could pose huge health risks for residents in the area and for the thousands of residents served by the many aquifers in the region.
We hope that as the project moves forward, Conecuh commissioners weigh the benefits of the short-term financial gain against the cost of years of health and economic problems. We hope they make the right decision.