Ledford still opposes landfill

Friday, July 6, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

While Marshall County's Solid Waste Committee unanimously endorses changing the zoning code so there's a path toward expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill, there's at least one commissioner who's against it.

Commissioner Don Ledford, one of two commissioners who represent the part of Marshall County including the landfill, is predictably opposed to changing words in the zoning code that would open a door for rezoning the landfill to a category suitable for expansion on land accessed from Old Columbia Highway.

Ledford is "Absolutely" opposed to accommodating Waste Management Inc.'s request. "They have never demonstrated that they could operate a landfill. That's what I ran on (for election six years ago and re-election two years ago) two times and that's what I owe to the district."

His stance has, in his view, cost him influence on the commission.

"I would ... assume that's why I was kept off the committee" that addresses solid waste issues, he said.

"I was held off from any committee that had any substance," Ledford said. "I had been on the Solid Waste Committee for four years. It looks like the commission opted to put a new committee in place."

Asked for his assessment of whatever support there might be for the zoning code change request, Ledford replied, "I have no idea where they're going, but as for the other commissioners, I would think that they would readily endorse it. That's what I assume."

Meanwhile, Ledford is "not surprised" that Waste Management is interested in using property it purchased several years ago for the disposal of trash, meaning the expansion of the landfill.

"I would have thought that anybody who paid that kind of money for Coble dirt is just pie in the sky stuff, so I'm not surprised at all," the commissioner said.

When Waste Management purchased property from the Coble family, company leaders said the land was acquired to be a source of dirt required to bury trash. Environmental regulations require daily cover. Close observers of that purchase and the operation of landfills saw that land as a potential place for the landfill's expansion.

"Oh, I would think so," Ledford said of the early expectation. "This was a surprise to nobody."

As for the governmental oversight and procedures that include public hearings, Ledford commented, "Obviously, it's got to go though the proper channels, but I would think it's a done deal, wouldn't you?"

Meanwhile, County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett was asked for his reaction to a committee recommendation to the county commission for altering zoning code in a way that could lead to another expansion of the landfill.

"I don't have a reaction," Liggett said. "Everything has to be done they way it should. I haven't talked to Morgan (Thomas, the county's solid waste director) about it."

Liggett was interviewed just before the Independence Day holiday.

"We'll have to let it play out and see what happens," the county mayor said.

As for the prospect of Waste Management expanding the burial of trash on land purchased several years ago, Liggett said, "They said they bought it only for dirt - for cover" of what's discarded.

Marshall County commissioners meet at 6 p.m. July 23 on the second floor of the County Courthouse Annex at the southwest corner of the intersection of First Avenue and Commerce Street on Lewisburg's Public Square.