Community leaders and residents voice concerns about proposed landfill

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - A public hearing called by the State Department of Environmental Quality Tuesday evening to discuss a proposed landfill in North Baton Rouge resulted in a full house. The company asking for the permit, Louisiana Land Acquisitions, wants to operate an industrial waste landfill near the small community of Alsen and next to the existing North Baton Rouge commercial waste landfill.

"The current cell liner would be replaced with a new and improved liner and we will be monitoring the ground water to be sure it won't be impacted. Again, our goal is to maintain a safe environment," said the operations manager for LLA.

The company's brief pitch was followed by area leaders speaking against the proposed landfill. Those leaders included State Representative Dalton Honore.

"They donated $50,000 to your Governor, Bobby Jindal," said Honore.

Others like Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden who said DEQ officials told him the city of Baton Rouge had no say in the process. Holden urged the public to remain united.

"All of us deserve better than to be sitting here tonight fighting each other over somebody else's waste," said Holden.

Members of the public followed suit and some challenging residents who were wearing green shirts that had been provided to them by Louisiana Land Acquisition.

"To me you're not doing anything but taking silver and gold and selling your soul to the devil," said one Alsen resident.

"DEQ, this is my community, not an industrial area," said another.

Holden also questioned DEQ's decision to consider issuing the permit to Louisiana Land Acquisition, which he says is a company that had been denied a permit at the exact location twice before.

"This smells every bit like a political deal that was worked out and DEQ knew everything going on but they're ignoring the people and consequences of a facility like this," added Holden.

DEQ will keep the public comment period on the proposed landfill open until September 30.

Click here for the DEQ website.

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