Proposed landfill running into more opposition

Proposed landfill running into more opposition

By Mary Granath Posted October 14, 2009

Recently a controversial issue has been brought to the attention of many citizens of Nevada- a proposed garbage dump located outside Winnemucca. A company called Recology, based in the San Francisco Bay area, has requested a landfill be created out on Jungo road to assist California in outsourcing their waste. The proposed landfill would initially consist of 640 acres and would receive 4,000 tons (8,000,000 pounds) of garbage per day, five days a week, for 95 years.

There are many, including federal officials, who have come out against the projected landfill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has advised Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons to negate the proposal. Reid was quoted as saying that Recology recommending this is a “threat to Nevada’s sovereignty and dignity.”

When contacted by The Brand, Senator Reid went on to say that the trash brought in from California would have hazardous risks, “We’re talking about nasty stuff like old tires, asbestos and sludge from sewage plants,” said Senator Reid, “We don’t want that in our land, in our water, or in our air.”

Senator Harry Reid. /Courtesy • reid.senate.gov
Senator Harry Reid. /Courtesy • reid.senate.gov

Concerned citizens opposed to the landfill created an organization, Nevadans Against Garbage (NAG), to stop the development of the landfill. Lianne Iroz, Annie Drake and Tami Vetter are heading the organization.

“This is an ill-advised scheme to sell out for short term monetary gains at the expense of long term consequences,” said Steven Bishop, an active member in NAG, “The only way garbage is going to be reduced in this country is if the people who produce it are forced to live and deal with it in their own communities.”

Many are justifying the creation of the landfill due to the revenue and jobs it would generate. Humboldt County would receive one million dollars a year and 25 new jobs would be created. However, Bishop says again that this is faulty reasoning, “If this is such a great deal, why aren’t they keeping it for themselves and their communities?”

In an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Adam Alberti, a spokesman for Recology, stated that the company is an environmentally friendly cooperation with an 89-year history of operating safe landfills. He was quoted as saying, “It will not pose any health risks. We are dealing with household waste. We are working to build trust in the community.”

County Commissioner Garley Amos was also quoted in the article and when contacted by The Brand said that he has “no definite opinion on the landfill,” and is still gathering information for and against it. However, Amos also went on to say that “The positive benefits…are beginning to outweigh the negative ones.”

Governor Jim Gibbons. /Courtesy • gov.state.nv.us
Governor Jim Gibbons. /Courtesy • gov.state.nv.us

Amos stated that “Positive facts include…the site being located in a remote area that is sparsely populated and a minimal environmental impact,” also there would potentially be 25 to 30 jobs created “with incomes of $60,000- $70,000 each, plus benefits,” and “a host agreement will be negotiated which will generate additional revenue to Humboldt County.”

The decision of whether or not the landfill will be created is largely up to politicians in Nevada. Nevada State Assemblymen Pete Goicoechea said “if the people of Humboldt County say they don’t want the landfill, my job is to make sure it doesn’t happen,” however the construction of the landfill also depends on the companies. Amos stated that the official decision on whether or not the landfill happens depends on “The developers of the landfill,” and whether they “follow procedures and gather the permits from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.”

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