Dumping Ground?

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

By Stephanie Carroll Carson

NC News Service

RALEIGH – Large cities outside North Carolina are looking for places in that state to dump the garbage they don’t have room for, and a bill that just passed the state Senate will make it easier for them to do that. The Landfill Deregulation Act (SB 328) will reduce the current five-mile buffer to 1500 feet for wildlife refuges and parks in the state.

According to Tom Bean, government-affairs director for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, removing the buffer adds up to profit for private landfills.

“The landfill is there and their business is to sell that landfill space to customers who are prepared to pay,” he said. “That’s going to mean that there’s going to be solid waste coming from out of state.”

Bean said the current requirement for a five-mile buffer is important to protect some of the state’s greatest resources.

“Buffers are important, because without them it’s going to reduce public enjoyment of these recreational areas because of the odor, noise, vehicular activity and the unattractive landscape,” he said.

Ten wildlife refuges in the state are located near landfill sites, and six of them are in the coastal plain, which Bean said makes the potential for harm to the environment even greater.

Supporters of the bill say the extra space is needed for waste produced in the state. North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources estimates the current landfill capacity will last another 30 years, without the construction of new landfills.

SB 328 will now move on to the State House. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation is encouraging citizens to ask their representatives to vote “no” on the bill.