Hamilton County commissioners "mute" landfill opponents.

The Cincinnati Post

Since April 22, opponents to the Rumpke expansion have been asking that the commissioners address their concerns regarding Rumpke's Bond Road landfill expansion. The board, either by ignorance or apathy, has refused to even acknowledge the issue, erecting obstacle after obstacle to justify not answering the primary question of:

"When is the Board of Commissioners going to exercise their powers to pass the same landfill rules, that all our neighboring counties have, to protect the health, safety and quality of life of residents in Hamilton County?"

Over 2 months ago, the commissioners asked the county prosecutor for a legal opinion regarding the scope of their authority pertaining to landfill issues. The Solid Waste Advisory Committee has requested the same information. Still, the prosecutor has failed to issue an opinion giving the commissioners and the Solid Waste Management Committee direction on whether they can promulgate rules related to landfills.

Meanwhile, Rumpke has been granted another approval to expand their landfill boundaries from 144 acres to almost 600 acres without any public hearings or efforts by the commissioners to reign in the monopoly and exercise their powers and authority.

"The answer is right in front of their faces," states the director of Child Advocacy for Rights and Equity, Inc., (C.A.R.E.) . The nonprofit put together a briefing ofr all officials comparing Hamilton County's rules to those passed by other counties to protect residential and environmental issues created by our landfills. Every solid waste district that surrounds Hamilton County already has rules. The only thing needed to ascertain the board's power and authority is to read the 4 page document that itemizes the rules passed by other county commissioners that have been approved by the Ohio EPA.

Many political jurisdictions in SW Hamilton County have joined the voices of opposition asking the Board of Commissioners to, essentially, "do their dang job." Whitewater Township, Harrison Township, Cleves, Springfield, and even Dearborn County, Indiana Commissioners have spoken in support of regulating the trash business in SW Hamilton County. Many have asked the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners to step up and use their powers to protect county residents. In addition, several nonprofits have joine C.A.R.E. in their efforts to invokve rules, Oxbow, Inc, Cardinal Conservancy, and Rivers Unlimited have all expressed opposition to the "no rules" policies of the commissioners. To no avail.

For over 20 years, Hamilton County has been derelict in exercising their statutory powers to pass rules. In any other county surrounding Hamilton County, a landfill must acquire approval from their commissioners. Not here. Our commissioners have allowed Rumpke to play by their own set of rules - those that are best for their profit margin, not what is best for the community. This malfeasance has made Hamilton County the dumping ground for all the garbage in the tri-state area.

The director of CARE testified at a public hearing today, "Why is it that Menard's has to have public hearings to open a store in this county, but we can put a landfill in that same location and yet there will not be a single public hearing or a single rule they have to follow?"

The preferential treatment of Rumpke in these matters is obvious.

Over 10,000 residents, individually or through non-profit affiliations, have expressed opposition to the board neglecting their responsibility to protect its residents and environment.

When CARE attempted to get answers from the commissioners today, the board "muted" the CARE director and flat out refused to address the issue. Not 1 of the commissioners has made a public statement on the issue. While Denise Driehaus has written to the Ohio EPA asking them to hold hearings and fully vet citizens' concerns, she fails to understand that the Ohio EPA does not have the authority to address the concerns of residents. It isn't the Ohio EPA's job to address the issues of odor, siting, the economic impact or the decrease in home values - it is HER job. Not that of the Ohio EPA.

How is it that the Board of Commissioners and the County Prosecutor have no understanding of where the authority lies on these matters? Could it be because the powers that be are literally "muting" the voices of opposition? Today's action confirms that.

See video at about 7 and the 52 m

Commissioner's holding a public hearing on a big box store, however they refuse to allow residents opposing the landfill the same rights.Public Record produced by ICRC


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