Waste Management considers itself to be a company that looks out for the community, and it certainly is being quite the host. Those who turned out Tuesday night for a public hearing on the Woodside Landfill in Walker are able to enjoy some jambalaya. However, despite that, people say they plan to candidly voice their opinions over a new air permit. The debate over the Woodside Landfill has been a cause that the Citizens for a Better Livingston Parish have embraced. WAFB's Jim Shannon reports on why the history of Woodside has not been very promising to the people who live near it.
Kent Benton and his family live just one mile east of the Woodside Landfill. Benton will be at Tuesday night's meeting to voice his opposition to any additional permits Waste Management is seeking. Benton says he could literally spend hours talking about his experiences with the landfill and its owner, but he will make it clear how he feels about the landfill. "We're gonna talk about the issues, the deficiencies in the air permit, and things like that," he says.
Benton has been involved with Concerned Citizens for Livingston Parish, a group dedicated to fighting Waste Management and Woodside Landfill. He also blames, in part, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for being lax on the job. "As far as I can tell, it's been Concerned Citizens of Livingston Parish that have monitored the landfill, not DEQ. We've seen no violation notices, uh, over the years, we've seen pitiful attempts by DEQ to monitor the landfill."
Waste Management will hear from the citizens around Livingston Parish. Benton says the air permit that Waste Management wants should be modified by that company, but at what cost? "There's no way to capture these emissions from bioremediation - none, unless they do it in an enclosure. That's what they need to do, but they won't do it because it takes away from their profit." Waste Management's statement regarding the meeting reads in part, "DEQ has accepted both of the company's permit applications as technically complete... And proposes to issue permits to the landfill. The solid waste permit renewal is for 10 years and the operating air permit is for five years."
Rodney Mallett with the Department of Environmental Quality says that his department responds to all complaints about Woodside Landfill. He adds that as far as violations, they don't have any and haven't since 2001. The public hearing is set to begin at 6:30. Both supporters and opponents of the landfill will be able to speak out. We'll let you know how things go later tonight on 9NEWS at 10:00.
Reporter: Jim Shannon, WAFB 9NEWS