"Trash Mountain" landfill plan draws opposition
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08/30/07 Seán Kinane
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The Manatee County Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday to decide whether allow a change in the land-use classification to allow a proposed landfill adjacent to the Hillsborough County line.

At an earlier hearing, five of the commissioners supported moving forward, but two commissioners were opposed. This afternoon, WMNF’s Sean Kinane spoke with one of the two, Joe McClash, who represents the countywide District 7 on the Manatee County Commission.

“I guess some people are referring to it as ‘Trash Mountain.’ It’s one of the most significant decisions the Board is going to make as far as land-use in that northern county area. Anytime a landfill is sited it needs special attention.

"Unfortunately, the state, when they reviewed the landfill found no major issues with it even though some of their departments within the state responding did have problems. For whatever reason it seemed like it was the quickest turnaround of any land use classification change that I ever saw,” McClash said.

He suggested alternative sites for a landfill in Manatee County.

“The old phosphate mining pits that are bare lands for the most part. Some of these lands cannot be used for houses. They lend themselves ideally for a C & D landfill that would not be in a position to harm Tampa Bay nor give the visual pollution.”

Andrea Torkelson, who opposes the landfill, created a website called NoTrashMountain.com.

Glenn Compton is chairman of ManaSota-88, a not-for profit organization dedicated to issues of public health and the environment in Manatee and Sarasota counties. He said Manatee County does not need a new landfill.

Compton and Torkelson say some commissioners are motivated by finances to support the landfill.

Larry Bustle, mayor of Palmetto, also opposes the proposal. Bustle announced this week that he will run for the District 1 seat on the Manatee County Commission against current chair Amy Stein.

Currently the land is zoned for light industrial use. Bustle said that would make more economic sense than a landfill.

Several thousand residents will eventually live in developments that are proposed near the landfill. Commissioner McClash thinks those people would be opposed to the plan, especially if they realized the danger of pollution from the landfill.

“Well, I don’t think there’s any doubt that the pollution will be there. Everybody looks at the technology that they would be utilizing, but the technology for liners such as they’re proposing does not have an unlimited lifetime. So whether its 50 years from now, 100 years from now somebody will be dealing with a breach of the liner because the liners are not made to last forever. … The world will last forever hopefully, so the short-term mentality of only having something with a limited lifetime is very scary.”

Torkelson is also concerned about pollution. She thinks the commission will postpone their decision based on the negative sentiment toward the landfill.

The Manatee County Commission public hearing on whether to change the land-use classification to allow the landfill is Sept. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

WMNF contacted Waste Management for comment on this story, the company did not respond by airtime.

Learn More:

Manatee County Commission

No Trash Mountain

Waste Management

Palmetto Mayor Larry Bustle

ManaSota-88

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