Alsen residents oppose another landfill

Residents at a community meeting Monday made it clear they do not want another landfill located in their area.

East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Trae Welch summed it up when he said that the Alsen Community is not against “a landfill,” they’re against “another landfill” coming to their area.

He was joined by about 60 community members and elected officials who, for the most part, voiced their opposition to the permit application for an industrial solid waste landfill that would be located just northwest of Alsen.

The informational meeting was organized by several Metro Council members, but it ended up being a forum about what another landfill would mean to the community.

“My point is, if the dump is so good, put it in your community,” said Lafayette Harrison, who lives in the area of the proposed landfill site.

Louisiana Land Acquisitions’ permit application seeks to open an industrial solid waste landfill just south of the city-parish landfill.

This is the third attempt by the company since 1997, then called Louisiana Land Systems Inc., to try to get an industrial solid waste landfill at the site.

A pit already exists on the site. It was built in the late 1980s to take in waste from a cleanup operation at the nearby Petro-Processors site. However, plans for that cleanup changed, and the pit remained empty, according to public hearing transcripts from March 23, 2000.

At Monday night’s meeting, public officials said they agreed with a Metro Council resolution approved June 26 opposing the permit application to use the pit for industrial solid waste.

“We feel that there has never been an issue with industrial waste capacity in this part of the state,” said David Guillory, acting director of the city-parish Department of Public Works. “We feel, at the end of the day, there are enough landfills in this area.”

In addition, he said, although the city-parish run landfill — just north of the proposed site — is permitted to take industrial solid waste, a decision was made not to accept that kind of waste.

“We fear this landfill could bring problems,” Guillory said of the proposed site.

Mayor-President Kip Holden agreed and reaffirmed his continued opposition to the landfill permit.

“We cannot sit idly by,” Holden said, and urged people to attend an Aug. 27 public hearing on the permit application.

“We don’t need another landfill in our community,” said State Rep. Dalton Honoré, D-Baton Rouge, which includes Alsen. “It appears to me the (state Department of Environmental Quality) is trying to fast-track a landfill.”

Louisiana Land Systems Inc. filed a permit application for an industrial solid waste landfill in 1997, but it was denied in 2000 because the application was found to be technically deficient.

A second permit request filed in 2008 was also denied because DEQ found that there was already enough industrial solid waste landfill capacity to serve the area.

During a 2008 public hearing, a number of Alsen residents showed up wearing matching green shirts to show their support for the landfill, while other Alsen residents and Holden voiced their opposition.

The company had made a series of financial commitments to the Alsen/St. Irma Lee Community Needs in return for their support. The money would have paid for an after-school tutorial program and a children’s summer program as well as money towards building a new community center and a senior food program.

After the second permit request was denied in 2008, the company took the issue to court where the case made it to the state Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to a lower court for a trial. Before that trial could take place, the company said it wanted to make some changes to its permit application and resubmit it in spring 2013.

Although very similar to the previous permit application, this one has changes to the service area of the landfill to avoid overlap with other industrial waste landfills in the area.

A public hearing previously scheduled for July 18 has been postponed at the request of the city-parish. The public hearing will now be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at Greenwood Community Park Recreation Center, 13350 La. 19, Baker. Public comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30.