Guest Column: Rochelle landfill expansion opposed

The Rochelle landfill expansion hearings ended Tuesday evening, March 4, after five days of testimony. The Concerned Citizens of Ogle County’s “Top Gun” (as nicknamed by the News-Leader editor two years ago), attorney George Mueller, and hydrogeologist Chuck Norris had the dump applicant’s backup crew scurrying to correct the errors, miscalculations and incomplete documents that were in the application Rochelle Waste Disposal filed. Some documents were even missing.

At the previous hearing approximately two years ago, it was disclosed that the applicant had always tried to get by with doing the minimum required to comply with permits, laws and regulations. According to what the public saw and heard at these hearings, this application is like spots on a leopard—NO (or very little) change!!

For starters, the applicant has stated “capacity in the Northern Illinois Region will be depleted by 2010.” We have to remember that Illinois is divided into seven regions. We are in Region 1, Northwestern Illinois. Region 2 is “Chicago Metropolitan.” Region 1, the Northwestern Illinois region, had an increase in available trash capacity between 2001 and 2002. This year, Onyx Orchard Hills at Davis Junction received siting authority to increase its remaining years of operation to more than 30-plus years. The Lee County landfill has applied for expansion that will extend its capacity for more than 30 years. Landcomp landfill in Ottawa has capacity to 2036, and Prairie Hill landfill in Morrison has capacity to 2040. As you can readily see, there will actually be an increase of available landfill capacity for our Northwestern Region 1, not a depletion as RWD would like you to believe.

Anyone who thinks this mega dump will be compatible to the surrounding area (it is already visible from Caron Road) didn’t listen clearly to testimony regarding Creston’s future plans for residential and light industry development. That development would be across the railroad tracks adjoining the northeastern portion of the proposed landfill expansion. At the public hearing, it was very obvious that this mega landfill expansion is not wanted. Both Creston and Rochelle-area residents made that very clear.

I would personally like to thank each and every one for your ever-increasing support. Thanks to everyone who attended the hearings and to all who gave public comment. We’d like to extend a special thanks to high school students Grant Carmichael, Lindsey Stouffer and Allison Norkus. They had requested the opportunity to voice their concerns at the hearings on this important issue that will affect their future. It was obvious that these students—on their own, outside of school time—put a lot of research and effort into their Power Point presentation. They concluded that this expansion was not in the best interest of the community because their future would be severely compromised.

By working together and telling the Rochelle City Council members why we all do not want this mega dump, we can once again stop this expansion.

Frank Beardin is president of the Concerned Citizens of Ogle County.

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