Landfill Summations before the vote:
I can only speak for myself but the radical element of the environmentalist movement attempted in every way to “badger” or “bully” me to vote no. I received every type of threat except physical so far. A few people said they would not vote for me again or ever vote for me if I voted yes. A few accused me of “being paid off”, so stupid and hateful a question that I couldn't answer civily. Most people woud not give me their name address of phone number. I reached the point where I would not return emails with no names attached. Almost all who contacted me were women with no addresses so it was hard to look them up to see if they even lived around here. My anti-virus system was three times as active as it had been in the past in attempts by some radicals to shut up my blog site. More lies and half-truths have been told by a small but vocal handful of concerned but desperate citizens in their efforts to stop expansion of a locally owned company that has not been sited with any environmental problem for more than 12 years. Opposition leader Tom Edwards is quoted as saying to the Peoria County Full Board on April 13 “I think it was a historic decision(the no vote) and it is going to be nationally important.” This statement caught the attention of the business community. Why would a company come to Peoria that created waste but couldn’t dispose of this waste because of a radical element of environmentalists? I believe all board members are environmentalists but I do note that four of the no voters voted to put yard waste in the City/County Landfill back in 2002, which does emit harmful gases. I’ll attempt to sum up why I made the decision to vote yes and why I will vote yes again. My decision was made after listening to and reading all the testimony and adding more than a modicum of common sense.
There was no expert testimony submitted that the landfill will ever leak.
There was no expert testimony submitted that the landfill where the expansion is sited has ever leaked and no evidence was submitted that any pollution is occurring now directly traceable to PDC.. There is “speculation” that some leakage is coming from the older closed landfills.
There was no expert testimony that the landfill emits more gas that exceeds IEPA limits now or will emit more in the future.
There was no expert testimony presented that any sizeable amounts of moisture would ever seep down from the sealed bottoms of the landfill.
Expert testimony did say that if and when any liquids do escape, this liquid would be similar to sea water and would be in such small quantities as to not affect the huge Sankoty Aquiver.
There was no expert proof submitted that the landfill sits over the Sankoty as the opposition originally claimed.
There was no opposition from the Pleasant Valley Water System adjacent to the PDC Landfill. Ditto, the Illinois Water Company.
The landfill has been in existance for 27 years at the same location.
All of the expansion (except for 8 acres already owned by PDC) will take place over older landfills with IEPA approved liners, only now the liners will be greater in number, thicker and better in quality.
There is no opposition from the Greater Peoria Sanitary District who handles the leachate from the entire landfill now and will handle additional leachate if created in the future. In fact, the GPSD Executive testified that sewage prices would go up 5% if PDC leaves the area.
The most prominent business leadership of the community, The Civic Federation. The Heartland Partnership, The Economic Development Council, and The Greater Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, all supported expansion with the special conditions recommended by staff and approved by the PDC. The Peoria County Board Staff and their hired experts unanimously agreed to recommend that the Full County Board accept the Siting Application with more than 30 “Special Criteria” added to the Application which PDC has accepted.
In a letter to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, opposition leader Tom Edwards wrote about his concerns on the PDC Application. The IEPA answered Mr. Edwards on 9/23/04 reminding him they had addressed his concerns on a letter he sent in April, 2004. They were patient in advising him again that no toxic wastes were being buried at PDC, that PDC ran a clean disposal facility, was in accordance with all state regulations, that gas emissions were so low that PDC did not need testing and no evidence of any health risk at the facility. They further stated that no contamination has been detected or any off-site violations have occurred. Mr. Edwards then asked that the faculty be shut down and was told that “Neither the State of Illinois, nor the United States Government has the authority to commandeer private property with out cause and there is no cause. Mr. Edwards than asked if he could stop other states from shipping waste into Illinois and was told “Neither the permit nor the regulations restrict the receiving territory of a permitted hazardous waste landfill. Such a restriction would be in violation of the Interstate Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.
On 2/15/06, the Peoria Times-Observer asks “Is the information Tom Edwards disseminates factual?” When the reporter DeWayne Bartels asked Mr. Edwards about some of the things the IEPA said in this letter, Mr. Edwards replied “the letter is full of lies. They are the ones lying, not me.” But Edwards could not explain just how they were lying. The IPEA disputed Edwards claim of toxic material being buried by stating “when treated by LDR’s (land disposal requirements), the waste are safe for disposal in a landfill that is designed in accordance with the federal design standards. Therefore it is simply not true that the wastes disposed in PDC hazardous waste landfill are the most toxic wastes known to mankind.”
I’ll stop blogging now until after the vote. I’ve done my best to get the facts out because I have an obligation as an elected official to get as much of the truth out as I possibly could. I have a moral obligation to tell the truth and I sincerely believe there were large amounts of misinformation disseminated to a populace fed up with litter and waste and unsure of why they are getting certain diseases, looked for a scapegoat in PDC made easy by the likes of radical environmentalists. This hateful and suspicious attitude expressed by a small group created conceptions, mis-conceptions, perceptions, subtle falsehoods and out right lies. I know many were sincere in their beliefs but couldn’t figure out which of the above fit the situation.
Too bad. I expect if the expansion is turned down, that PDC will win on appeal. Then the county will really be a big loser. If PDC wins on appeal or loses and leaves the area, companies will think twice about located here for fear of being attacked by the RE’s.
I close with these words by Mr. Shelley Steele, author of “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era” He states “You go at a problem until you meet stigmatization, then you retreat into minimalism.” Not me.