Group formed to oppose project

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

CORNERSVILLE -- If the University of Tennessee's men's basketball team hadn't been playing a championship game, the meeting would have lasted even longer.

As it was, about 80 people spent an intense two hours packed in to the Cornersville Lions Club building Thursday. They came from both Marshall and Giles counties and were united by their opposition to Waste Manage-ment's proposed new landfill south of Corners-ville.

Kathy Fox, a close neighbor to the proposed site, and Mickey King, the lone remaining District 4 County Commissioner, led what was billed as an organizational meeting.

It was announced that Henry and Alice Hooker were retaining a Nashville lawyer to aid in the fight against the landfill, and that David Smith, lately in the news for his gift to the Cornersville Police Department, was paying a public relations firm for their help.

The group suggested and then voted by a show of hands on a name for itself. The somewhat unwieldy winner was "Citizens Against Marshall County Landfill." They chose a secretary, Luanne Reynolds, and treasurers, Jenna Martin and Melinda Mitchell. The CAMCL is getting non-profit status and opening an account with the CB&S Bank in Cornersville.

King and Fox went through the list of county commissioners and got volunteers to call each one to try and persuade them to vote against the landfill.

Some of those present said a recurring theme from the commissioners they had talked to was the phrase "we can't afford to do without it." They agreed that the figures on Marshall County's garbage disposal requirements need to be re-examined.

King said, "I think the whole county would pay not to have a landfill."

The figure "7 percent" was mentioned repeatedly, referring to the supposed figure that only 7 percent of what is currently dumped at Cedar Ridge comes from Marshall County. The majority of Tennessee counties do not have a landfill within their boundaries, and attendees at the meeting wanted to know how these other counties cope with their trash and what it costs them.

Pulaski and Giles County are also concerned. Giles County Mayor Janet Vanzant was reported to be writing to every Marshall County commissioner about the fact that the proposed landfill is upstream of the point where Pulaski and the county take their water from Richland Creek. Dan Speer, the mayor of Pulaski, was interviewed on local radio and ended by saying that Giles County may need to retain an attorney to protect their interests.

Cornersville Recorder Scotty Brock said, "They didn't think we (Cornersville) would come out in force. We need to continue the surge forward."

Plans were made to pack all the upcoming meetings relating to the new landfill, to flood County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett's office with anti-landfill letters during the written comment period, which starts on April 4, and to keep on getting petitions signed all over the county. Three good speakers will prepare three-minute anti-landfill comments for the public hearing.

There was grudging acknowledgment at the meeting that Waste Management will be a strong opponent. But, like Tennessee's basketball team, CAMCL is determined to fight all the way to the end.

The newly elected executives of the group will meet again at the Lions Club at 7:30 p.m. April 3. A mass meeting is also planned, probably in the high school gym, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10.

With these decisions made, the group dispersed and went home to watch the UT game. The team was knocked out of the tournament. A year from now, that lost game will hardly be remembered except by the coaches and players. But if the fight against the new landfill is lost, the members of CAMCL warn, our children and grandchildren will still be experiencing the consequences for many years to come.