Repeal of landfill restrictions gets first Senate nod

Posted June 20, 2013

— The state Senate on Thursday gave key approval to legislation that would roll back restrictions on landfills in North Carolina.

Senate Bill 328 passed its second reading 28-18. A final vote is expected next week before it heads to the House.

The measure would allow landfills 1,500 feet away from National Wildlife Refuges or state parks instead of the current buffer of 2 to 5 miles and would drastically limit the statutory reasons for which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources could refuse to issue a permit for one.

It also would relax requirements that owners regularly inspect and clean systems that capture leachate, the liquid that comes out of their landfills, and would repeal the requirement that operators have a fund of at least $2 million to pay for fines or corrective action in case of contamination.

Current laws requiring garbage trucks to be leak-proof also would be replaced with rules that they only be leak-resistant.

Sponsor Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, said no landfills have been sited in North Carolina in years, and existing landfills will run out of space in an average of 15 to 20 years.

"This is an attempt to look toward the future and make preparations for our children," Wade said.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, said the landfill restrictions the state adopted in 2007 were designed to keep North Carolina from being the dumping ground for other states.

The Durant Road landfill is taking three times the volume it used to, before other landfills closed. Bill backers say NC needs more landfill space

"We do not want to truck our garbage from Manteo to Murphy, but we also don't want to take all of their garbage in," Kinnaird said. "This is a very big step backwards."

The landfills will inevitably end up in poor communities, she said, and the mountains of trash will be seen for miles in any dumps in the coastal plain.

Sen. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, questioned whether adjacent counties would have any say if one county decides to approve a landfill near their borders.

The 2007 regulations are too restrictive, Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said, adding that North Carolina needs to adjust so that landfills can meet the state's future needs.

"Doing nothing, I don't think, is a solution to the problem," Brown said. "We have to do something to allow these landfills to be built in North Carolina."

Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, said he fears the reduction of buffers will "destroy the things we cherish about this state." He questioned why the bill was being pushed now, when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the state has adequate landfill capacity.

"If I were freezing to death, I'd probably start burning my furniture, but I'm not going to do it tomorrow," Nesbitt said. "We're not to the point in the state where we've got to start destroying wildlife refuges, natural heritage areas and the rivers that flow through this state to build a landfill."

"We all want our trash picked up, but we don't want anyone to put it down," Wade responded.

Local communities would have the final say on whether landfills locate in their area and how big they would be, she said.

DENR supports the bill, contending that its regulators would be able ensure any landfills are operated safely.

Sen. Bob Cook, R-Beaufort, said he plans to seek an amendment to the bill before final passage to protect Camden County, which is seen as the target for a large landfill. Still, he said he supports the legislation.

"We have to get rid of our trash. We have to do something," Cook said.


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  • cruzinlong Jun 21, 2013

    viking416 said : "The whole NC House needs to be thrown in a land fill and forgotten. These people are dangerous and not very smart. Makes one feel like joining in on these Monday protests"

  • Plenty Coups Jun 21, 2013

    "Put all these mega-landfills in republican districts."

    Especially the twisty gerrymandered ones.

  • caryzoo Jun 21, 2013

    Thanks, goldenosprey...they want to pass laws that protect THEIR districts. If this is a fair process...the republican districts get them all. They voted for them, therefore, they get them.

  • goldenosprey Jun 21, 2013

    Put all these mega-landfills in republican districts.

  • caryzoo Jun 21, 2013

    ids...I realize it seems like the Dems screwed up the state. BUT...who is DESTROYING the state? The Republicans. Are you capable,and willing to help save this state? Our natural resources are a big attraction. If that is gone...who wants to visit a site of what used to be? When NC was smart? Not a single person (I took a poll of 120 people)is willing to spend money to come here.

  • caryzoo Jun 21, 2013

    As far as I am concerned..no amendments to ANYONE, it is for one and for all, or for NO one.This guy is going to make his money on the backs of the state citizens? What...not who..did we elect to run this state? If this actually passes, does anyone realize that the feds will NOT pick up the slack? WE taxpayers will. We either follow federal guidelines or we pay. I see a big problem here, don't you?

  • indrdw Jun 21, 2013

    Senator Bob Cook R-Beaufort wants to add an amendment to protect Camden county??? I would imagine many counties would like to be protected, at least their citizens would. This is a disaster for our state. Bet it will not be in within the allowed distance from these guys back yard.

    Republicans, thank you for all the changes you are making. This state is going backwards in time in so many ways I hope some people wake up before elections and vote for the person and not the party.

  • Nope Jun 21, 2013

    "This is a very big step backwards."

    This seems to be the republican goal, regarding everthing.

  • oakcity Jun 21, 2013

    first in filth

  • WRAL_USER Jun 21, 2013

    @ Gravy

    Buy less packaged stuff, thats the "reduce" part... Just saying... :)