This morning, the AP picked up a story saying Speaker Jim Black says only about a dozen Democrats oppose the landfill moratorium. He mentions concern, though, about the loss of the economic boost a facility might bring. This is exactly why we need a time out to take a good look at these projects and the rapidly growing international waste industry in North Carolina.
There are massive economic development choices and jurisdictional decisions to be made as well as the primary decisions about public health and safety. Then there’s the discussion about the suitability of large waste dumps in the tidal regions of our fair state, how to create economic opportunity and the types of industry we want and where. The moratorium is just that–a pause while we think it through.
Navassa’s deal with Hugo Neu, which the speaker brought up, is a good example of all of these factors. Navassa sealed a deal with the auto waste giant to build an auto shredder waste facility in Brunswick County after county officials turned the company down. The town then acquired jurisdiction over the land through satellite zoning. Brunswick County citizens and officials have fought the plan. With the help of Sen. Soles, they succeeded in gaining support in the Senate for a bill that would undo Navassa’s annexation. The metal market got worried. But the bill has sat in the House Rules Committee since the Senate passed it 50-0. The Stop the Dump folks are none too happy with Mickey Michaux (scroll down through the articles page). Cape Fear River Watch and the Wilmington Star are not happy with the House either.
Recently, opponents got a copy of the contract. Apparently, Navassa went pretty cheap–50 cents a ton. We probably ought to talk about that, too.
Here’s the audio from the Senate hearing with Brunswick County’s assistant county manager describing how the deal went down and imploring Senators to pass the moratorium.
Illustration from Stop the Dump.