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Letter: Landfill expansion remains wrong decision

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

When I was invited to speak at the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce Candidate’s Night, I made it clear that I was disappointed with the County Board’s handling of the proposed landfill expansion. Particularly, I was upset with the transparency of the process.

Simply said, we weren’t informed.

After venting my disappointment on stage, I was confronted by someone from the board who was intimately involved with the process. This person explained to me that the board was, and still is, cornered on the issue. They were unable to speak about the specifics of the expansion because of limitations put on them by the Illinois EPA and Waste Management.

This person explained to me that there was really no choice but to expand the landfill. That if they didn’t, Waste Management might close the dump and move it to another county, leaving DeKalb having to foot the bill for transporting their garbage to another county.

Also, this person mentioned that they explored every avenue to expand recycling services to include composting as well as other initiatives. But, because these services weren’t lucrative for Waste Management, they would be too expensive to implement.

When I asked about why we had to bear the burden of taking in the waste of 17 other counties, this person relayed to me that this wasn’t exactly the case. The landfill expansion “only” includes about 20 percent of the waste from those other counties.

That didn’t make me feel any better.

What’s worse is that they were unable to, and are still unable to, speak about the issue because it’s being challenged in the courts.

After my conversation, I was troubled by the fact that our elected officials were “backed into a corner” by all sides.

I sympathize with them.

That being said, regardless of how it went down, the landfill expansion was still the wrong decision to make and we still need to be informed on the full implications of the issue. I understand that the board may be legally bound to not speak on the issue. But, if our elected officials are unable to inform us, then who do we turn to?

Marc Johnson

Democratic Candidate for County Board District 8


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