ADEM could push for landfill reforms in 2014
Following a public meeting Tuesday in Birmingham, Auburn University Associate Professor Joel Hayworth said an ongoing study by the university into the state's solid-waste program is slated for completion late next year or early in 2014.
ADEM, which funded the study, is expected to rely heavily on its recommendations when it moves to reform its own rules and lobby the Legislature to approve additional reforms.
Through an executive order by Gov. Robert Bentley and two legislative actions, the state has barred ADEM from approving new landfills, pending the establishment of new rules. That moratorium expires May 31, 2014.
"The purpose of this moratorium is to give ADEM time to review their solid waste management program and, in particular, come up with recommendations for how they can make it better," Hayworth said.
The moratorium stems from hotly-debated, large-scale landfill proposed by Conecuh Woods LLC in Conecuh County. Tuesday's meeting was the last of 13 hosted by Auburn statewide to collect public input for the study.
Among the roughly 20 attendees were members of the Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama, which is challenging the Conecuh Woods project in court.
Member June Serravezza, who attended 11 of the meetings, said the planned landfill, which would accept waste from other states, is not needed in the rural county.
"Poor, rural counties are being taken advantage of," she said. "It's too much for one little region to bear."
Public comment for the Auburn study closes Nov. 27 and can be submitted on the project's website.
Hayworth said the next phase of the study will include invitation-only meetings with stakeholders, including landfill operators, industry leaders and recyclers.
RECYCLE - An alternative landing in a landfill.
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