Sunday, July 16, 2006


controversial new orleans landfill to close

or so it seems... first nagin says that he's going to close it... but then the state wants to keep it open. oh how i'm hoping for some good news out of nola for a change. (a background post on the landfill can be found here).

first the hopeful:
Setting the stage for the closure of a controversial landfill in eastern New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin has signed an affidavit saying he will not renew the executive order he signed in February that gave the facility a legally required zoning waiver.

Nagin signed the affidavit pledging not to renew his executive order in response to a lawsuit filed in Civil District Court by four eastern New Orleans residents who claimed he lacked the authority to exclude the City Council from any land-use decision, even under a state of emergency.

Joel Waltzer, lawyer for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Citizens for a Strong New Orleans East, which jointly filed an unsuccessful federal suit to block the landfill, was thrilled to learn of the mayor's position.

"I think it means if Waste Management wants to continue to operate the landfill, they're going to have to go through the ordinary zoning process," Waltzer said. "The groundswell of community opposition and science has been building for months, and we are elated that the mayor has finally reacted. This is a victory for the rebuilding of New Orleans and for the vitality of New Orleans East."

"I can't believe it," gushed Marylee Orr, LEAN's executive director. "God bless everybody!"

If the opponents are right, and the landfill is in its final throes, it will mark the end of a long and often heated debate between Village de l'Est residents and environmentalists on one hand, and city and state regulators on the other.

Critics have complained that the landfill is situated poorly in marshy territory next to Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

And they say they fear that, while construction debris is considered relatively benign compared with other types of waste, the landfill could leak toxins into the area because the state broadened the definition of construction debris post-Katrina. Those fears have been heightened by Waste Management's refusal to allow testing of the material in the landfill.
but then again, this is louisiana. the rules are different there.

here's a topic: the louisiana department of environmental quality most often doesn't actually care about the quality of the environment in louisiana. discuss:
A day after New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he will let a controversial eastern New Orleans landfill close next month, the state's Department of Environmental Quality said the landfill is still needed and should remain open.

The agency issued a statement saying the landfill "poses no threat to public health" and "is needed to clean up New Orleans in an environmentally sound and timely manner."

"Closing this landfill would slow down the (post-Katrina) cleanup process significantly," said Chuck Carr Brown, assistant secretary of the environmental agency.
stay tuned, folks, for the outcome. in the meanwhile, brad pitt's in town to rebuild new orleans in all shades of green. never fear, louisiana, brangelina's on the case!

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