Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Published: Mon Jun 07, 2010

Scotland board puts end to landfill project

By Jennifer Calhoun
Staff writer

LAURINBURG - The Scotland County Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to end a controversial landfill expansion project.

County officials had considered expanding a closed landfill to create a regional dump as a way to bring in revenue for the struggling county.

But many residents opposed the plan, saying it would turn the county into a dumping ground for trash from all over the state.

Monday's meeting officially killed the project, when commissioners unanimously voted on two items meant to quash the plan for good.

J.D. Willis, chairman of the board and proponent of another regional landfill proposal in 2007, issued a motion to stop plans for the landfill at Patterson Road.

Commissioner John Alford, before voting on the motion, asked that it include language to stop all regional landfill proposals in the county.

Willis agreed.

The motion was passed without dissent.

Immediately afterwards, Bob Davis, a longtime opponent of regional landfills in the county, submitted a detailed resolution banning the Patterson Road landfill expansion.

The resolution stated that "Scotland County discontinue the employment of engineering firms, outside legal counsel and all other firms or companies engaged to assist with the condemnation and/or more expansive plans for disposition of waste."

The resolution asked that the county manager notify all waste management companies that Scotland County was, in effect, out of the landfill business.

It, too, was passed unanimously.

Only Commissioner Guy McCook was absent. Willis said McCook had been hospitalized that morning.

Willis said the landfill had become a divisive issue in the county, and that officials would be better served by channeling resources into other things.

"Having said that, it is my opinion that the climate is not conducive to expanding our existing landfill," he said.

Willis, a longtime board member, was defeated in the May primaries, after refusing to say whether he would vote for or against the landfill expansion project.

Many residents believed Willis was in favor of the project.

In 2007, he was one of five of the board's seven commissioners to vote in favor of a dump that was expected to produce about $4 million a year in revenue for the county.

Eddie Carmichael, a farmer who had spoken out against the Patterson Road landfill, said he was pleased with the board's decision, but remained skeptical.

"It's good they finally listened to the people," Carmichael said.

But, he said, with a wary shrug: "It's politics. They could come in next month with a whole, new resolution."

Staff writer Jennifer Calhoun can be reached at or 486-3595.

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