Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce taking heat for nominating Rumpke for "innovator" award

The Cincinnati Post
The Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce nominated Rumpke as "Innovator" of the year, despite resident outrageGreater Harrison Chamber of Commerce, 2021

The Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce stepped into a huge mess with residents who are unhappy about the chamber honoring a business they feel presents a threat to their quality of life. The chamber has nominated Rumpke as Innovator of the Year and will announce the winner at the January 5 Awards Ceremony and Annual Meeting. The chamber will "recognize outstanding businesses and individuals in our community." at the event.

"It's ... discouraging that the Chamber members may be so out of touch from the residents' / communities' desires & needs," wrote Julie Sankers when announcing the chamber's nomination of Rumpke for the award on social media.

It's unclear what "innovation" Rumpke has mustered in the area other than the secretive acquisition of about 400 acres in Whitewater Township in order to expand the Bond Road landfill. It's not like it's a business anyone in the region is embracing. In fact, almost 2,000 residents in the area have signed a petition to block Rumpke from increasing its garbage intake from 1 truck per year to over 40 trucks per day. Some believe the landfill will be expanded to up to 400 trucks a day.

Lisa Wynn, a resident who has been integral in collecting data on the landfill situation and speaking in opposition to it before numerous government bodies stated, "They should check Rumpke's public record of Ohio EPA violations and see how innovative they are."

Despite the chamber boasting a mission "promoting growth and prosperity," residents believe the landfill will cause their homes to lose value and promote blight. While the chamber writes, "It's a purpose that unites small businesses, corporations, non-profits and individuals," residents feel left behind for the sake of big business profit.

"(An) award for destroying property value, (the) health of people and, lastly, destruction of the beautiful environment we call home," said Debbie Kastens, a resident in the region who has also signed the petition to "Ditch the Dump".

A coalition of nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and the majority of members on both the Solid Waste Policy Committee, and its Subcommittee charged with devising rules to regulate the landfill industry, are all united in seeking to impose rules to control the unfettered construction and expansion of landfills in the region without proper consideration of the detrimental impact on residents, businesses, neighborhoods and the environment. Meanwhile, the chamber is seeking to give an award to what is viewed as the biggest threat to the quality of life in the region.

Residents are upset their elected officials, other the Board of County Commissioners, have not intervened in any manner nearly a year after learning of the proposed expansion.

Adam Dupps posted on social media, "I don't understand the crickets we hear about this from the entirety of Harrison and Cleves and everyone in between."

The general feeling of the residents in the community is that leadership and area businesses aren't considering their concerns. Brian DeBuler summed it up like this,

(It's) real simple. There's a club...And none of us are in it."

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