Landfill moratorium bill passes

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Alabama Senate on Thursday passed a two-year moratorium on new landfills, sending the bill to the governor for his signature.

State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, sponsored the bill, part of an effort to halt the proposed Conecuh Woods landfill near Repton. Conecuh County commissioners approved the application for the landfill — to be located on 5,100 acres — last month.

Earlier Thursday, Baker said he thought there was strong support for the bill.

“There is interest in a review of the permitting process,” he said.

Baker also said that supporters of the landfill — including Conecuh County Commission Chairman Wendell Byrd and a lobbyist working for developer Conecuh Woods — had asked him to seek a delay of the Senate vote. He declined.

The landfill project has been opposed by a grassroots group, Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama, as well as commissioners and city councils in adjoining counties.

The Town of Repton has filed a lawsuit against the Conecuh County Commission and Conecuh Woods, seeking a revocation of the commission’s 3-2 vote for the project.

Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year signed an executive order that also calls for a two-year ban on landfills, but it is unclear how it would have affected Conecuh Woods, which had already submitted its application to the county at the time of the order.

Baker’s bill specifically includes those landfills which do not yet have approval from ADEM. Conecuh Woods still must gain ADEM approval to proceed.