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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Ripple effect

The state of Vermont sent a clear message to Moretown Landfill last month when it notified the landfill of its intent to deny the landfill’s request to recertify Cells 2 and 3.

Permitting efforts for Cell 4 are on hold at both the state and local level.

The future of the landfill is important to the town of Moretown, which receives $500,000 in tipping fees and reduces property taxes for all residents from those fees.

The future of the landfill is also important to those who live near it and are upset about ongoing problems with odors from the parcel.  And while neighbors and a citizens group, Citizens for Landfill Accountability and Environmental Responsibility (CLEAR), are regarding the state’s December 20 notice as a definitive victory, it’s more complicated than that.

If the landfill cannot create a fourth cell there will be a ripple effect through Central Vermont that will impact far more people than those who live in Moretown and those who live near the landfill.

Everyone whose garbage is currently hauled to the landfill from their home or business is likely to see their rates rise as haulers begin to take the trash further and further afield, burning countless gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, contributing to the state’s pollution and the degradation of everyone’s carbon footprint.

All those who rent homes and offices are likely to see their rents rise when their landlords are faced with rising waste disposal costs.

The Massachusetts-based Toxics Action Center, which has its sights set on the landfill, suggested that the state deny the proposed expansion and “instead move towards a model of zero waste.”

That’s a noble ideal and one towards which Vermont has made tremendous progress since the state passed Act 78, but it’s not an ideal that is realistic for where the state is right now.

The solution lies in balancing the rights of those who live near and around the landfill with the many thousands upon thousands of people whose lives, financial and otherwise, will be impacted by a complete closure.




# RE: Ripple effectDavid Belanger 2013-01-10 09:19
"Balancing rights"???
It is alarming to me that in this country, in this age, that this would possibly be offered as a solution. I am nearly speechless, but not quite.
Everyone in the United States (correct me if I am wrong) is entitled to the same rights as any of their neighbors. To think otherwise is offensive. But not nearly as offensive as the idea that the rights of individuals should be ignored so that a high profit enterprise may continue to violate the very conditions and regulations that they are obligated to follow, while encroaching on the lives and health of the surrounding community.
The solution does not lie in "balancing rights". The solution is enforcement of the landfill by local and state agencies.
The solution is a landfill that operates within the regulations of their permits.

Two more things I would like to point out:
Zero waste is not an unrealistic idea, it is currently being implemented (successfully) in VT. It's only obstacle is the complacent nature of our current system. Trash is the burden of society, not the burden of a chosen few. To make your problem be something that is selectively inflicted on others is equally offensive.

Finally, regarding the added carbon footprint made by trucks going to a distant landfill - do you have any idea how much methane is being released into the air at the Moretown Landfill (just one of the many violations that neighbors endure on a daily basis)? Why would you be so concerned about truck emissions, when the Moretown Landfill is releasing (into the environment) methane (21 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) on a 24/7 basis? Why aren't you concerned about that?

I understand that unless you live near the Moretown Landfill, you can't possibly understand it's impact.
I would suggest that folks find out what is really going on before posting their "high altitude" opinions publicly. This situation is a far greater problem than just "what will we do with our trash?".
-David Bellanger
# RE: Ripple effectMark Fischer 2013-01-10 13:22
Moretown and the landfill have had 19 years to "balance" the rights of the landfill's neighbors and those who use it but do not live nearby. If the landfill is so critical to Moretown, then the town can always open a new landfill nearer town center, where residents can experiment with balancing the fugitive odors, blasting, debris and truck traffic like those of us do today in North Moretown. Isn't 19 years of legal non-compliance enough?
Mark Fisher
# Moretown ResidentMartha Douglass 2013-01-11 12:15
I'm not sure where the editor obtained the information that CLEAR is regarding the state's December 20 notice as a definitive victory. I am a member of that group and I wish to clarify that I have never taken the position of a "definitive victory" nor have I heard anyone else in our group do so either. We have a grasp of the complexity and components that remain ahead. It is offensive to imply that we are operating from some simplistic view of this issue. What I do understand is that the landfill has been issued the notice by the state because they have repeatedly broken the rules with regard to the operations of the landfill. While the reasons for those violations may be complicated, and the changes that will need to be made to our management of waste are certainly challenging, following the specified laws based on the rules of the state is simple and quite frankly,required. The denial of continued operations that has been warned and is under consideration at this time needs to be finalized. Then the state can move on, finalize the closure procedures in accordance with the law and begin immediate movement toward the alternative opportunities to better manage our waste in VT.

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