By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council District Seven representative Cindy Wilson will host a public meeting next Tuesday evening (Jan. 30) at 6:30 p.m. at the Cheddar Fire Department. On the agenda are brief updates on the Kinder Morgan fuel spill and cleanup, as well as a review of the Lee Steam Plant coal ash project, recently completed by Duke Energy.
Wilson told The Journal that there appears to be significant activity at the Kinder Morgan facility, although there are still concerns over the rollover crashes of three trucks in recent months.
“We will also review the coal ash cleanup project, which Duke Energy has finished. The main takeaway from that project is how Duke interacted with the public whenever concerns over the project arose. Duke met with the public on more than one occasion, receiving input about those concerns, and providing current, relevant information. In short, the people in the area were treated respectfully. Frankly, Duke provided a template that Waste Connections and Kinder Morgan would do well to adopt when dealing with the public,” said Wilson.
The bulk of the meeting is expected to be taken up by a discussion of the new landfill contract recently approved by the County Council, including Wilson, who voted for the proposed contract once the twin issues of increased annual tonnage to be permitted for disposal and the question of a lateral expansion to be sought were separated from the contract for separate handling later.
The increased disposal capacity, which Waste Connections had sought to double to eight hundred seventy six thousand tons annually, had been negotiated down to half that increase, or six hundred fifty seven thousand tons a year.
In 2017, Anderson Regional Landfill buried three hundred eighty two thousand tons, of the permitted capacity of four hundred thirty eight thousand tons.
The lateral expansion, which would be defined in scope by the pertinent state and federal regulations, had been approved by the county, but on the day of the vote on the contract, Council Chairman Tommy Dunn announced that the two issues had been severed from the contract for the time being. Council approval of the contract, under those conditions, was unanimous.
Wilson, whose involvement with the Big Creek Landfill goes back beyond the time when it became the Anderson Regional Landfill, has long questioned the management of the facility, and the contractual terms between the county and the operator, which has morphed from NationsWaste to Allied Waste to Waste Connections over the years.
She led the battle against the closure of Lewis Drive, which was never officially secured by legal process; and her dismay that a private citizen discovered a significant fuel spill rather than the storage facility’s operators is well known. She continues to be involved in the monitoring of the cleanup efforts resulting from that spill.
Wilson also argues that a number of concessions the landfill operator made to the local community, vis-à-vis road maintenance, hours of operation, and environmental considerations have not been kept. “Most of all, the people in this area have been mistreated and disregarded, by the landfill operators and by the operators of the ethanol storage facility. They deserve better and I would like to see them receive fair treatment,” said Wilson.
By Stan Welch