While the first five comments to the state about Cedar Ridge Landfill opposed Waste Management's request for permission to expand the facility, the latest batch of letters appears evenly split on the issue.
Supporting expansion are Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods, County Commissioner Dean Delk and county residents Roger and DeAnn Haack. Opposing expansion are Leslie Colley, director of the Nature Conservancy's Duck River Program, Bobby Bills of Cornersville and Carol Foreman of Lynnwood Avenue.
Acknowledging both sides of the issue, Mandy Hargrove of Forrest Run Drive says, "I do believe it's a good idea to close the landfill, but I'm concerned about the fee" that might result from a county resolution to raise money to pay for trash disposal.
Public comments are being sought by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation through Monday. Just before Christmas, TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke decided against issuing a draft permit for expansion of the landfill. Fyke could make his decision final within 30 days of Monday's deadline to send comments to Mike Apple, director of Solid Waste Management, at his office on the 5th Floor of the L&C Tower, 401 Church St., Nashville, TN 37243-1535.
The landfill has been a hot topic for years. Now, it's running out of space to bury trash. Waste Management proposes to cap a sinkhole and fill a low place that was not issued a permit for trash disposal when the landfill was started. It's on the few hundred acres known as Cedar Ridge. Expansion would not be beyond the property line of the landfill.
Here's a synopsis of what the latest seven letters say.
The City Council voted to approve the expansion on Nov. 18, 2008, and it wants the state to be "consistent with our decision," the mayor wrote.
Woods advocates recycling, but the residents know trash disposal is required.
Hauling trash long distances and "removing the competitive landscape" with a nearby disposal facility "will create an unnecessary financial hardship on a community that's already struggling."
If the landfill isn't expanded the county will suffer more unemployment, a tax increase and loss of convenience centers funded by the landfill.
An unscientific poll of self-selected readers of marshalltribune.com shows 86.5 percent of the respondents favor Waste Management's request for expansion of Cedar Ridge.
Trash operations have been greatly improved and when the federal government requires more and the state provides less, now isn't the time to add financial responsibility to residents here.
"We are in favor of expanding the Cedar Ridge Landfill," the Haacks wrote to Apple. "Our thought on this is 'If it's there, use it.'"
The landfill has been polluting East Fork Globe Creek "for at least a decade." Waste Management may have addressed some issues, but the creek water still has high levels of ammonia and chloride.
Agreement with Fyke's tentative decision against expansion comes with a request to have the company fully address landfill liquids entering streams and groundwater.
Public health is too important to be endangered by a landfill. The expansion permit should be denied until the company is accountable and responsible.
"Landfills have water and air pollution as well as odor, toxic gasses, methane burn off and dioxin releases." Landfill liquids seep into ground water.
Finalize the decision to deny the permit.
The landfill shouldn't be expanded, and especially not over a sinkhole.
Beyond odor and traffic issues, she's concerned about contamination of water supplies.
It's understandable that there could be a fee to pay for waste disposal if the landfill must close, but her household recycles more than 90 percent of its trash.
Regardless of the number of homes where trash is recycled, it would be a shame for recycling to decrease because some residents feel it's unfair to pay the same fee as those who don't recycle.