Legislature renews battle over midstate landfills

mlee@macon.comMarch 27, 2012 

ATLANTA -- Certain landfills, including most in the midstate, would be allowed to accept out-of-state garbage under a state Senate proposal that looked dead but is reviving in the closing days of this year’s session.

The state Senate has voted to stand by its version of Senate Bill 110, which repeals restrictions on landfills that are located above key aquifers, like those under Middle Georgia.

Those landfills are now limited to mainly local trash in an effort to protect the water underneath it from pollution.

The state House passed an unrelated version that delays state Department of Natural Resources regulation of companies that drain septic tanks.

Now the House author, state Rep. Kip Smith, R-Columbus, wants to get his version confirmed in a conference committee. All such committees must act by Thursday, the day the annual state legislative session is scheduled to end.

During last year’s legislative session, the House ultimately put a bill on hold that sought to make it legally clear that Middle Georgia’s landifills could take more trash.

At issue was a dusty law that said landfills above sensitive areas of aquifers could not take out-of-state garbage. But some of them, such as Twiggs County’s Wolf Creek landfill, do anyway.

The state Environmental Protection Division said court cases showed that states could not discriminate against trade in garbage across state lines.

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