On January 18th the Haralson County, Georgia Planning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend that the Haralson County Commissioners DENY approval for what would become the largest landfill in Georgia.
The fight is not over yet. On February 15th, the Board of County Commissioners will hold their hearing. The Commissioners are then scheduled to make a final decision by March 1st.
This battle started two years ago. Those concerned about the megalandfill formed the Haralson County Alliance for Responsible Waste Management.
CEDS was retained to assist in forming a strategy to protect County residents from landfill impacts. Our recommended strategy centered on minimizing the need for a landfill by maximizing source reduction, recycling, composting and other measures that could slash waste volume by 30% to 80%. Fortunately, Georgia and other southeast states have the largest concentration in the U.S. of industries utilizing recyclables as feedstock. Unfortunately, recycling is stymied by the abundance of landfills in Georgia and low landfill tipping fees. The proposed megalandfill would exacerbate this problem. CEDS created a webpage providing the science regarding landfill impacts and waste reduction benefits: https://ceds.org/hcarwm/.
CEDS also assisted the Alliance in finding and engaging the Georgia law firm that has stopped more poorly planned waste facilities than any other – Stack & Associates. Landfill battles are seldom won with just expert witnesses and attorneys alone. A showing of strong public opposition and, preferably, an equally strong showing of support for landfill alternatives is frequently of even greatest importance in achieving victory.
To this end, CEDS assisted the Alliance in launching a petition drive that eventually gathered signatures from an amazing 15% of all Haralson County residents! Two-thirds of the online petition signers provided reasons why they believed the megalandfill was wrong for Haralson County. These articulate and well-founded reasons were a key factor prompting the vote of Planning Commission denial recommendation.
Following are links to the testimony and documents submitted by Alliance leaders and their law firm Stack & Associates:
- Johnny Wright: https://app.box.com/s/dj6r2j0tlhrwacxvudegtu5pjxhgf6af
- Tommy Crawford: https://app.box.com/s/jjqep4ryyarwdhi7g5br95mg8n57rrxs
- Stack & Associates: https://app.box.com/s/n6o61j3tya72m956eg27jw30bvca0kmz
And here key points regarding the impact of the megalandfill on Haralson quality of life:
- The megalandfill will cause homeowners within at least two miles to lose up to 13% of their property value,
- Megalandfill odors may occasionally force those living up to three miles away to keep their windows closed,
- Those living within two miles may suffer a slight, but significant increase in low-birth weight, cancer and other adverse health effects,
- The megalandfill will eventually reach an elevation of 1400-feet becoming the fourth highest point in Haralson County,
- Clearing 1500-acres (2 sq miles) of forest around the megalandfill will make it far more visible throughout southwestern Haralson County,
- The megalandfill is near the County’s I-20/GA100 industrial park area and could make it difficult to attract more high-paying employers like Honda Precision Parts,
- The megalandfill would also make it more difficult to shift Haralson waste management from burying trash to turning it into jobs through recycling, reuse, composting, etc.
- Massive soil erosion from clearing nearly 1,500 acres of forest and then burying 24 million tons of trash over 300-acres would:
- Cause numerous area residents to forever question the quality of their well water,
- Destroy extensive wildlife habitat, and
- Degrade some of the highest quality and most sensitive Haralson streams.