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AG's office now involved in PBC waste in Clinton Landfill debate

Published: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 7:59 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — CLINTON — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has thrown its support behind a move to send plans to store PCB chemical waste at Clinton Landfill back to the DeWitt County Board.

The attorney general has asked the Illinois Pollution Control Board to allow her office to intervene on behalf of a request from several Central Illinois communities, including Bloomington and Normal. They see storing such chemical waste at the landfill as a potential threat to the Mahomet Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to about 750,000 people in the region.

Peoria Disposal Co., the parent company of landfill operator Area Disposal, filed a motion earlier this month to have the request dismissed. No hearing date has been scheduled.

In seeking to join the response to the dismissal request, the attorney general’s office cited “the public policy of the state and the duty of each person to provide and maintain a healthful environment for the benefit of this and future generations.”

Other parties to the effort are the communities of Champaign, Urbana, Decatur and Savoy; Champaign and Piatt counties; and the Mahomet Valley Water Authority.

“This has been on our radar for quite some time and there is a lot of public interest in this matter,” said Scott Mulford, a spokesman for Madigan.

The president of a watchdog group opposed to the proposed disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, said Madigan’s support is welcomed.

“Any support we can get from the attorney general’s office is very much appreciated and it is starting to really look like we are winning some key battles on this issue and we will get it stopped,” said George Wissmiller, president of We’re Against Toxic Chemicals (WATCH).

A Peoria Disposal representative could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The request to the Pollution Control Board alleges the landfill operators failed to obtain the proper approval for a new pollution control facility from the DeWitt County Board as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. The County Board approved PCB storage in 2007, but opponents argue the landfill’s storage process plans have changed since then.

If the complaint is successful, the County Board could vote on the matter again. Public opposition to the plan surfaced after the 2007 vote and many of the initial supporters have left office.

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