Survey shows strong opposition to landfill expansion

Jun 28, 2021 at 12:00 pm by Voice Wire

At 6 p.m. Monday, June 28 at the Rutherford County Courthouse, the Central Tennessee Region Solid Waste Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed expansion of Middle Point Landfill. In a lead up to the meeting, SHARE Rutherford conducted an informal survey of the community on the issue of the landfill with the plans to SHARE the voices of our community with the board and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation(TDEC).

“We appreciate those that have taken the time to respond to our survey,” State Rep. Bryan Terry said in a press release. “As a self-governance legislator, getting the voices of the community to those in the decision-making position is important to the process. Overwhelmingly, the community opposes the proposed expansion, and it is good to have community voices to back that up.”

More than 90 percent of the respondents opposed the proposed expansion with the others either supportive or undecided. Of those responding, 80% were willing to pay higher fees or taxes if it meant the landfill wouldn’t expand.

“Though it was an informal survey, those numbers are pretty telling,” Terry explained. “I’d like to see a more formal survey of the area, including from citizens within 1 and 3 miles of the landfill. The proposed northward expansion has the capacity to extend the landfill another 35 years. When one adds in the potential southern expansion of 25 years to the 6-10 current landfill lifespan and the landfill could go on for another 70 years. Those most directly impacted by the odor and traffic didn’t sign up for any of that.”

Responses to the survey were quite passionate and included an array of comments including:

“The Middle Point landfill has become the state’s trashcan and is making northern Rutherford County a miserable place to live.”

“The odor is atrocious. Some of the trucks are littering along the route to the landfill.”

“It is a complete eyesore, it smells, there are potential health problems.”

“Property values, environmental concerns”

“This has become a real nuisance for Rutherford County, other counties around Rutherford are now having their trash carried here and dropping debris and mud on our highways.”

To provide more context to the situation and the meeting, within the past week, the City of Murfreesboro sent a letter to the Commissioner of TDEC informing him that the city is satisfied that Republic’s application requires approval from the City of Murfreesboro based on current Tennessee statute.

In 1988, a permit was granted by TDEC for Middle Point Landfill. The following year, the state of Tennessee passed the Jackson Law which grants local control over new landfills or expansion of existing landfills. Republic, in their application for expansion, claims that they are exempt from the Jackson Law citing a TDEC rule on solid waste disposal and processing. Thus, they claim that they do not need local approval from Rutherford County or the City of Murfreesboro.

In opposition to the stance from Republic, the City of Murfreesboro in their letter cites Tennessee code while stating that they have primary zoning authority over the proposed new landfill space. Murfreesboro city limits is within one mile of the new landfill space and the City is of the apparent opinion that circumstances surrounding the proposal will require City approval.

Though the letter from Murfreesboro is new information, the opposition for the expansion has been opposed by the state delegation since the application was filed. “Our delegation is opposed to the proposed expansion and have reached out to TDEC and Governor Lee in our opposition. I’ve personally talked with the administration and TDEC, as well as our city and county mayors, expressing our opposition, discussed alternative solutions, and offered to take any legislative action their teams deem viable,” stated Terry.

As more information arises, SHARE Rutherford looks forward to updating the community on the situation.

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