Opponents of Jonesboro Landfill File Appeal - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Kathy Morris reports

Opponents of Jonesboro Landfill File Appeal

SEPTEMBER 28, 2004 -- Posted at: 10:40pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Those Jonesboro residents who are in opposition of the recently approved Class 4 (bulky items such as appliances and construction material) landfill want the trash to be dumped on an entirely different sight. Both the current and new landfills are located on Strawfloor Road.

Nearly a year and a half after their first lawsuit was filed, the landfill continues to be battled in court. Attorney Hunter Hanshaw represents a group called Citizens Against More Pollution. He said a hearing officer at an Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission hearing on August 27th ignored evidence he presented and gave support to the Class 4 landfill permit the city requested from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. As a result, commission members ruled in favor of the city.

Hanshaw's clients site that the current Class 4 landfill operated by the City of Jonesboro is out of compliance and has been for years. Their scientific experts believe the current and proposed landfills could be threatening the city's water supply, because both sights are above two aquifers.

"They (referring to the Commission) don't have the time, I guess, and the way it's set out in the statute, so they normally just affirm the hearing officer's decision without really reviewing the record," explained Hanshaw.

The case is now in the hands of Circuit Court Judge John Fogelman. He could ask for more testimony and evidence. The appeal would then be heard in court, or could get sent back to the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission for another ruling.

Hanshaw went on to add, "Depending on how and when the Circuit Court ruled, you can take an appeal to the Supreme Court. That's a long way down the road, probably. I don't know if we'll do that or not."

As the battle continues in court, city leaders are working on a plan to possibly take Class 4 material to the Craighead County landfill. The county sight was first proposed on August 12th at a Public Works Committee meeting. Guy Enchelmayer, a manager at the Craighead County Solid Waste Disposal Authority, said an engineer has been working on plans and cost figures since that date. Preliminary figures show contracting with the county would save Jonesboro city taxpayers $278,000 per year. If the cost of operating a new landfill is factored in, that figure climbs to $700,000 a year in savings.

"We're not just looking at current traffic patterns that we have and volume that we have, we're trying to anticipate how much it's going to be 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now," Enchelmayer said.

Guy Enchelmayer isn't sure when the Class 4 comparison report will be finished. However, he said Public Works Committee members should expect it no later than the end of October.

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