The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Opinion

February 1, 2014

Viewpoint: Same threat to our county, different 'owner'

On Sept. 9, 2013, The Herald Bulletin front page headline read, “Best Way Disposal buys Mallard Lake Landfill property.” The headline’s subtitle, “No plans to develop property as landfill,” resulted in sighs of relief by many Madison County residents who thought that finally, after 35 years of fierce opposition, the threat to our water which the dump would pose was finally crushed.

As chairman of the Killbuck Concerned Citizens Association, I was asked to attend a meeting held the day of the sale closing. At the meeting, Best Way’s Anderson manager, Andy Drummond, told me that, “Best Way has no plans or need at this time to develop the property as a landfill,” but would continue to lease it for farming. He also stated the actual buyer was Bex Farms, Inc., Best Way’s parent company. Though dubious about a waste-based company’s purchase of 254 acres on which a 13-acre landfill was permitted, out of courtesy I didn’t question him. But, as The Herald Bulletin’s editorial said on Sept. 13, 2013, “The company said its immediate plans are to rent the ‘tillable land’ to local farmers. That uneasy feeling is coming back.”

In that same article, Bex Farms is quoted as saying, “It does, however, include a valid permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.” Assuming that statement was accurately reported, it would not have been a misstatement but an intentional deception. J.M. Corp. was the holder of the IDEM permit and it did not transfer to Bex Farms with the purchase which the buyer must have known. On the same day as the press release was given to The Herald Bulletin, and I sat in Best Way's local office being briefed on the "announcement," principals of Bex Farms and its affiliate, 600 Land, signed a 27-page application for the transfer of the landfill permit from J.M. Corp. to Bex Farms. So, while stating it had, “No plans or need at this time to develop the property as a landfill,” the buyers felt it imperative that they apply that day for the transfer of the IDEM permit not due to expire until February 2015. Why?

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