Conecuh County Commission Votes Yes on Landfill

The Conecuh County Commission this morning voted to approve a massive landfill to be located on 5,100 acres near Repton, setting in motion what is likely to be a legal fight over the issue.

Commissioners made no comment other than their “yes” and “no” votes. Jerrold Dean, Wendell Byrd and Leonard Millener voted yes. Hugh Barrow and D.K. Bodiford voted no, with Bodiford saying, “That’s with a capital N and a capital O.”

Landfill opponents vowed to continue their fight against the project, which would see Conecuh Woods LLC building a landfill on 5,100 acres near Repton.

“We’ll see you in court,” Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama Chairman Johnny Andrews said after the commissioners’ vote.

Commissioners left the room immediately after their vote.

Repton Mayor Terri Carter said she was confident in the legal team representing CCSA and the Town of Repton.

“We have capable hands taking care of this,” she said. “We feel confident the dump is not coming. We don’t want the public to be worried.”

A crowd had gathered outside the courthouse before the meeting, holding the “No Dump” signs that have been prevalent in Conecuh and Escambia counties since the landfill was first proposed more than four years ago.

Conecuh Woods officials said Monday’s vote was just the first step in the approvals process.

“Today’s action allows us to move to the next step of the regulatory process for this project,” spokeswoman Rachel Dickinson said. “Before we can actually begin development, this project must be submitted to the regional planning commission and permitted through a rigorous process that ensures Conecuh Woods meets or exceeds all environmental protection laws.  If a permit is issued it must be renewed every five years to ensure ongoing compliance.”

Beyond the inevitable lawsuits to be filed over the issue, the status of the landfill application is unclear. The project would still need to gain approval from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Gov. Robert Bentley has ordered a moratorium on new large landfills until the ADEM and the Alabama Department of Public Health can study the regulations for them. And state Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, has proposed legislation that would impose a similar two-year ban on landfills. Baker said the legislation is worded to include landfills, such as Conecuh Woods, that have not reached the final approval from ADEM.