Trash talking

Published 5:35 am Monday, October 20, 2008

By Staff
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bev Perdue, in a television advertisement, accuses Republican gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory of supporting a plan that calls for shipping garbage from New York and New Jersey to landfills in eastern North Carolina. McCrory fights back by saying that advertisement is wrong about his position on the issue.
As for who is telling the truth, let the politicians sort that out.
Eastern North Carolina residents should be more worried about the plan coming to fruition than whether McCrory is for or against the measure. Eastern North Carolina should not become the trash heap for New York, New Jersey or other states on the East Coast. It does not matter who came up with the idea of shipping garbage from other states to eastern North Carolina. What does matter is preventing that from happening.
Let New York deal with its garbage. Let New Jersey deal with its garbage. Here’s a novel idea: New York, New Jersey should find landfill sites within their state boundaries for their garbage. Eastern North Carolina does not need imported garbage in its existing landfills.
There is no sign at coastal entry points into North Carolina that read: “Give me your straining barges of garbage, straining to break free.”
Any garbage that goes into any eastern North Carolina landfill should be eastern North Carolina garbage.
To paraphrase a well-known line: “Barges? … We don’t need no stinking barges in eastern North Carolina.”
Eastern North Carolina is getting some help to keep out giant landfills.
The Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 is a key piece of legislation that protected the state’s environment by keeping out landfills that would approach 300 feet high. They would be higher than the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, as the BlueNC Web site points out. The legislation is rooted in a year-long moratorium on new landfills. It’s also in response to proposals to build giant landfills in North Carolina, including one in Hyde County.
North Carolina residents and visitors should not be subjected to passing the Tar Heel state’s version of Mount Trashmore to and from their ways to the state’s beaches. People viewing the historic sites in eastern North Carolina want to see where Blackbeard once lived, not the leftovers of some New Yorker’s breakfast from the week before.
This idea of sending garbage from other states to eastern North Carolina is one that must be disposed of as soon as possible.
As for existing landfills in North Carolina, there is some good news. The Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 establishes a disposal fee to pay for the cleanup of hazardous-waste sites and aging landfills that threaten two water sources affected by such sites — groundwater and surface water.
That’s an excellent idea. So is making sure that new landfills are environmentally sound. The legislation protects the state by requiring all applicants seeking to build a landfill to show they have financial assurance, protecting the state from liability and expensive litigation in the event something goes wrong with the landfill.
North Carolina residents should not have to put up with mountains of out-of-state garbage because other states cannot or will not find local solutions to their solid-waste problems.
North Carolina must not allow itself to become the East Coast’s dump. The next governor, no matter his or her political party, must prevent that from happening.
It’s great that New York is the Big Apple, from which residents and visitors may take “bites.” Just don’t send the leftover core of the Big Apple to the Old North State.