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Georgia community rallies to oppose additional landfill

How many landfills near where you live are too many? That is the question being raised in an community in Gainesville, Georgia.

Residents of an area that neighbors several existing landfills are banding together to stop the rezoning of a 51-acre property that would allow for the creation of a new landfill. The request to rezone the property--which the Hall County Commission is expected to approve--stems from a company that donated many thousands of dollars to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's 2010 gubernatorial campaign, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition, one of the landfills is owned by the governor's longtime business partner.

At issue for the residents is whether they should be forced to endure the impact of living so close to so much waste.

Initially, an existing landfill was supposed to be used for construction waste. But in January, the state Environmental Protection Division agreed to allow the composting of food waste and sludge from wastewater plants, a process which, if not done correctly, can produce foul odors. Residents fear that adding another landfill will simply magnify what is already a problem for them.

"It smells like a sewer, like a septic tank," one resident complains.

The newly proposed site is just across the street from several other landfills-at least seven, according to residents. They have collected more than 250 petition signatures in opposition to the zoning changes, and they held a rally on election night, Nov. 6, to voice their concerns.

Says one woman who lives in the community, "If we have at least seven or eight landfills already why are you going to impose on us another landfill?"

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Neighbors fight landfill proposed by Deal supporter," Chris Joyner, Nov. 8, 2012

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