Supes OK landfill needs assessment

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Madison County supervisors pivoted on Monday to move forward with a solid waste needs assessment that could possibly open the door for a third landfill in the county after previously denying such a study.

Supervisors voted 4-1 to hire a firm outside of Madison County to do an independent review of the county’s solid waste needs. The change comes a couple weeks after the county was sued for $60 million by NCL Waste LLC, the developers looking to build the third landfill. 

In January, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Permit Board tabled NCL’s petition, saying they would not look at the permit until Madison County provided an updated needs assessment. MDEQ did not require or order the county to update its solid waste plan. 

In June, NCL sent county supervisors a letter requesting the county update its solid waste plan, even offering to pay for the study. 

Supervisors voted 3-2 on July 20 not to proceed with an updated needs assessment.

Sources told the Journal that supervisors pivoted on Monday because they were told their insurance wouldn’t cover a loss should they be found liable in the $60 million lawsuit. District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter was the lone vote against. 

District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks initially brought the motion up Monday, saying he continues to receive a number of emails with people asking about the “need” of a third landfill. 

District 3 Supervisor and Board President Gerald Steen introduced a substitute motion that called on supervisors to hire an outside firm not associated with the county, preferably out-of-state. He also wanted the needs assessment to not only consider NCL, but expansion plans at the other two landfills in the county — Canton and Little Dixie.

“I think it is very important we get a very clear picture of the truth,” Banks said. “You adding the needs assessment request for Little Dixie and the City of Canton is good. It’s all part of Madison County. We need to know what’s going on. We need to know the future as well.”

District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin said hiring a neutral firm eliminates politics as well. 

County Administrator Shelton Vance, Board Attorney Mike Espy and County Engineer Tim Bryan were tasked with bringing a recommendation within 30 days.

The supervisors’ decision came a couple of days after NCL Waste LLC filed an appeal in Chancery Court opposing the annexation of the proposed landfill site by the city of Ridgeland that was recently approved by Chancery Judge James Walker. 


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