(03/18/2008)
A bill that would help a privately owned landfill in McDowell County was beat back during this year's legislative session.

Officials representing solid waste authorities from across the state joined other foes to decry a Senate-passed attempt to reduce tipping fees at all West Virginia landfills.

They said the bill would have robbed counties of funding for recycling, open dump cleanups and environmental efforts.

"The entire state is going to be made to suffer for one company operating in one county," said Tom Degen, executive director of the Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority.

"In the long run, landfills are a drain on the economy," Degan said.

The McDowell County landfill unsuccessfully pushed to increase tonnage limits last year.

This year's bill would have reduced fees by $1.90 per ton, to $3.55 per ton, once a three-month total for all waste received by landfills statewide exceeds 570,000 tons.

The McDowell landfill's developers have also been seeking to accept out-of-state trash, renewing a debate that raged across West Virginia in the 1980s.

Northeast cities made a monumental effort to use WV's hollers as a dumping ground for their trash, an effort sold as economic development to several counties.

There was a hinted promise to lower garbage bills.

Greg Sayre of the state waste haulers association and Lisa Dooley of the Municipal League touted the potential savings to cities, towns and their residents.


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