We are currently under a year-long moratorium on new landfills in our state that was initiated in the last general assembly. This leaves collecting information on landfills and and passing meaningful legislation on the matter one of the biggest tasks facing this session of the general assembly.
Two major problems with the way landfill siting has occured is that localities are given exclusive control and there is no statewide fee for dumping trash at a landfill like there is in almost all other states. These two factors combined to make poor rural counties targets for large, environmentally hazardous landfills. Some of my past posts on landfills can be found here.
Yesterday, DENR came out in favor of two reforms that would significantly reduce the potential for North Carolina's rural areas ending up a magnet for out of state trash: 1) initiating a tipping fee and 2) having the State take more control of the approval process for the landfills. From WRAL:
Smith suggested the state should be more involved in the approval process for big landfills.
"Many large landfills have impacts that extend beyond the service area of the local government," Smith said. "For very large landfills with the potential for regional or statewide impacts, we need to look at requiring statewide franchises."
Smith also said a statewide "tipping" fee on garbage placed into landfills is needed, with proceeds going to clean up hundreds of dumps built before the state began permitting landfills.
Now is a critical time in protecting our environment; hopefully the general assembly will pass meaningful legislation to control the growth of landfills in our state.