Friday, April 14, 2006

Landfill approved over popular opposition

Despite popular opposition to the idea of building a landfill in an open marsh, the DEQ and Corps are allowing the Mayor Ray Nagin to use emergency powers to open up a new landfill in New Orleans East:

The state Department of Environmental Quality will allow the opening of a new construction landfill in eastern New Orleans despite the vehement opposition of a coalition of neighborhood residents and environmentalists, department officials announced Thursday.

The Chef Menteur Disposal facility, located at 16600 Chef Menteur Highway adjacent to the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, will also receive emergency authorization under the Clean Water Act today from the Army Corps of Engineers to begin accepting waste, corps officials said Thursday. The facility could take as much as 6.5 million cubic yards of debris, officials said.

The corps and DEQ approvals were the last remaining regulatory hurdles keeping the landfill from accepting waste, meaning the facility could open immediately. However, officials from Waste Management of Louisiana, which will operate the landfill, could not say Thursday when the facility will be ready to accept waste. ...

"We know it's against the wishes of the community and the City Council," he said. "It's hard to find anyone who's for it except DEQ and Waste Management. "We're talking about exactly the same kinds of problems as with the Gentilly landfill - a vulnerable location where the whole area flooded. It's right next door to Bayou Sauvage in a wetland area with a high water table. The only thing different is this one isn't built on top of an old dump.

Rev. Vien Nguyen, pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church:
For starters, Nguyen said, the landfill is just 0.8 miles from the nearest apartments in the neighborhood, not three miles as Nagin claimed.

Moreover, Nguyen said Nagin's decision to place a disposal facility there flies in the face of the mayor's public statements encouraging communities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. The neighborhood has been actively planning its future, Nguyen said, and many residents have begun rebuilding. He and others fear a new landfill nearby will hurt those efforts.


At 4/14/2006 09:18:00 AM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

It really invites an ugly comment about what kind of trash the mayor lets people keep out of their neighborhood.

I'm getting the impression that N.O. will be in a state of emergency for as long as America's likely to be at war.

At 4/15/2006 07:48:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Declaring a state of emergency to overcome the objections of the community just reeks of the abuse of power to disguise incompetence. It just seems to me that Nagin could at least overcome those objections by being more proactive in addressing the environmental concerns. Fortunately, he won't be around much longer.


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