Conecuh commissioners must listen to the people

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When Conecuh County commissioners sit down next Monday to vote on whether a massive landfill should be built near Repton, they will do so — we hope — after reviewing a vast amount of material on the subject, from engineering reports to proposals to environmental impact reports.

But what should matter most to them is the overwhelming opposition to the project, from residents, from surrounding counties, from other government officials.

Conecuh Woods LLC has proposed building a landfill on 5,100 acres that would accept household waste from every state east of the Mississippi River and Louisiana. While we believe that Conecuh Woods believes its landfill will be safe, we don’t think there is any such thing as a “safe” landfill.

And this one is not needed. With decades of life left at Timberlands Landfill in our own county, there is a place for Conecuh County to take its household waste. When Timberlands is full, there will likely be others in nearby counties that can accept it.

The land on which Conecuh Woods has proposed building its landfill includes wetlands. While the Alabama Department of Environmental Management will have to approve any plans, we don’t think ADEM has strict enough guidelines right now to protect the wetlands — or the water supply that feeds our county and others that are downstream from this proposed landfill.

Conecuh Woods developers have made much of the prospects for new industry as a result of the landfill. But as economic development experts have pointed out, there are few industries that would seek to locate near such a massive landfill.

We hope that commissioners will listen to the will of the people — hundreds of whom turned out several weeks ago at a public hearing to express their opposition to the landfill.

Is this project really the legacy that these five men want to leave their county?