JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Bills introduced in the House and Senate this year could put an end to plans to build a third landfill in Madison County.
District 73 Rep. Jill Ford has introduced a bill that would amend state law to prohibit the construction of a new landfill in a county where two or more are located, unless the landfill is approved by public referendum.
The measure is co-authored by District 57 Rep. Ed Blackmon. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by District 25 Sen. Walter Michel.
“I was very pleased to introduce House Bill 949, which ultimately puts the decision-making power where it belongs - in the hands of the residents,” Ford said. “They will be allowed the final word on any potential landfill via public referendum if this bill becomes law.”
The news comes as Madison County is moving forward with a needs assessment to determine whether a third landfill should be built in the county.
The board approved moving forward with the study in October.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) requested that the study be conducted before it would approve permits for a third landfill.
MDEQ is currently reviewing a request by NCL Waste to build a landfill at 2858 N. County Line Rd.
The dump would be 89 acres in size and would be constructed on a 166-acre tract owned by the Bilberry Family L.P.
Meanwhile, MDEQ is also reviewing an application to expand nearby Little Dixie Landfill.
Plans are not without their detractors. The city of Ridgeland has opted out of participating in Madison County’s solid waste plan, to draw up one of its own, likely because of the landfill.
Mayor Gene McGee said he’s pleased the legislation has been introduced. “Obviously, they agree with me on the great importance of protecting the citizens of Ridgeland and Madison County, and we will continue to fight as deemed necessary.”
The Hinds County board of supervisors also is opposed to the landfill, voting on a resolution in opposition of the construction and operation of a solid waste landfill on North County Line at its Tuesday meeting, Ford pointed out.
Many residents have also come out in opposition to the proposed landfill, saying it would negatively impact their quality of life.
Under HB 949, no solid waste management plans adopted by counties may not adopt solid waste plans that include the construction of a new landfill if two landfills already exist in the county.
If the county does adopt a plan with a third landfill, the plan must be approved by a public vote.
The change would not impact plans to expand already existing landfills, the legislation states.
Ford’s bill had been referred to the House Conservation and Water Resources Committee. Michel’s had been referred to the Senate Environmental Protection, Conservation and Water Resources Committee.