The Herald Bulletin

November 19, 2013

Editorial: Landfill foes can't be blamed for skepticism about sale

The Herald Bulletin

---- — You’ll have to excuse folks who live in the Killbuck area if they’re a little skeptical about reports that the new owner of the proposed Mallard Lake Landfill acreage has no intentions of developing a landfill.

The fact that the new owner is affiliated with a waste-disposal company, Best Way Disposal, certainly adds to the skepticism. That, and the 30 years of intense legal battles that have been fought to forestall the landfill, which was originally owned by JM Corp. and Ralph Reed and Sons. Reed died in 2012, triggering the sale of the property.

Dangling over the head of opponents is an Indiana Department of Environmental Management permit that allows the owner of the property to develop 13 of the 254 acres for a landfill. That permit doesn’t expire until February 2015, and the owners can apply for an extension as the expiration approaches.

Suspicion is further aroused by machinery pushing earth around at the landfill site off Madison County Road 300 East.

A representative of Best Way assures local residents that the new owners have no intention of creating a landfill on the property.

“The Mallard Lake land purchase is primarily to control what happens with the permit,” said Andy Drummond, facility manager for Best Way Disposal in Anderson.

Maybe. But local residents would have been a lot more comfortable, say, if a farmer had bought the property, which sold for $1.125 million in September.

Best Way officials can argue that a farming interest did, in fact, buy the property. County records show that Bex Farms Inc., an affiliate of Best Way, is the purchaser of record. The landfill permit is in the process of being transferred to yet another Best Way affiliate, 600 Land Inc.

Drummond explained that 600 Land owns landfill permits, landfills and transfer stations and that Bex Farms owns buffer acreage around landfills and transfer stations, as well as investment acreage.

He says Best Way officials are seeking to lease the tillable acreage to local farmers and are interested in selling, leasing or developing the property.

To landfill opponents, this conglomeration of companies might sound like another convoluted attempt to begin operating a landfill.

Let’s hope it’s not. Few in Anderson want this landfill, particularly those who are concerned about the negative environmental impact on nearby homes, Killbuck School and Killbuck Creek.

Are Best Way Disposal officials really leveling with the local community?

It’s up to the new owners to be as transparent as possible in order to dispel the haze of cynicism that’s been thickened by the recent change of ownership.

In summary It's up to the new owners of the Mallard Lake Landfill property to be as transparent as possible in order to dispel the haze of cynicism that's been thickened by the recent change of ownership.