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Moretown Landfill is closed and one group of residents is trying to ensure that it stays that way.
As Moretown Landfill puts together its permit application for a fourth trash cell that could extend the Route 2 facility's life by 12 to 16 years, the neighborhood coalition Citizens for Landfill Environmental Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) teamed up with the Toxics Action Center to protest the expansion project.
On Wednesday, August 14, members from both groups gathered on the State House lawn in Montpelier to announce support from over 90 local business owners—including those from The North Branch Cafe, Bridgeside Books and Waterbury Service Center—and 582 Vermont residents to call on the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) secretary Deb Markowitz to reject the expansion and move Vermont towards a zero waste future.
"Moretown Landfill was shut down [for a] good reason, and it should stay that way," Toxic Action Center community organizer Naomi Leary said last Wednesday. "It's time to turn away from the broken waste system of the past and invest in Vermont's Zero Waste future," she said. On the State House lawn, Leary and some 50 supporters cited businesses such as ReSOURCE that are working to improve resource management across the state.
One ReSOURCE program repairs and resells household items that otherwise would be thrown out. As a result, "more than 10,000 tons of materials have been kept from the landfill and more than 50 people now have secure employment," ReSOURCE sales director Jim Curran said. "ReSOURCE's success to date has proven its sustainability and is replicating this model of environmental sustainability, educational training and economic opportunity into Central Vermont and now Lamoille County."
Moretown Landfill closed its gates on July 15, per the settlement conditions of the facility's appeal of the ANR's decision not to recertify its existing trash cells due to ongoing odor control problems. While the facility is no longer accepting waste, it is just beginning a roughly 30-year closing procedure that involves installing permanent caps and monitoring groundwater.
Meanwhile, Advanced Disposal Services, the company that owns Moretown Landfill, has stated that it plans to submit applications for permits to construct a fourth trash cell—Cell 4—by December 31, 2013, but if the members of CLEAR are successful, the permits won't be approved.
"It is important to take advantage of the opportunity that we have before us today," CLEAR member and Moretown resident Martha Douglass said. "The Moretown Landfill is no longer accepting trash. As Vermonters we need to hold the Agency of Natural Resources and the Shumlin administration responsible for moving us forward toward zero waste. Green is part of our name, part of our heritage and needs to be an integral part of our future."