Repton files landsuit to halt landfill permitting process

Published 9:22 am Monday, March 7, 2011

The Town of Repton has filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the permitting process for the proposed Conecuh Woods landfill.

The 5,100-acre landfill would be located near the town of about 300 people. A hearing on the lawsuit has been set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Evergreen, two days before a public hearing set to hear opinions on the landfill.

Late last month, Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order calling for a moratorium on new large landfills, until the Alabama Department of Environmental Management can enact new rules for their approval.

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Conecuh Woods officials have said the executive order has no bearing on their application, and opponents to the project have agreed that the executive order only stops the process at the state level.

“We want to stop this thing dead in its tracks if we can,” said attorney Greg Albritton, who is representing the town. “If we do not stop this application process, then there’s no stopping it. All of the rest is jumping through hoops.”

A Conecuh Woods spokeswoman said the lawsuit shows a contradiction for lawsuit opponents, which include the Citizens for a Clean South Alabama, which has worked with Repton officials to fight the landfill.

“The lawsuit is one more example of the CCSA talking in circles,” Rachel Dickinson said. “First they threatened to sue the county commission, claiming they weren’t allowed an opportunity for public input, and now they actually sue to stop the public hearing and block input. Why should anyone believe anything they say? Apparently they don’t even believe what they say.”

The Conecuh County Commission has set a public hearing on the issue for 9 a.m. Thursday at Reid State Technical College. The project could be approved if the commission votes to approve the application or even if commissioners do not vote within a certain time frame.

“In light of the governor’s executive order, we felt like it was a good, solid opportunity to stop the application process,” Repton Mayor Terri Carter said.

State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, has drafted a bill for the current legislative session that would change the way landfills are approved at the local level.