Benton Co. Landfill Fight to Continue in Court
Residents in one West Tennessee town have not given up on their fight to rid the city of the smell of ammonia; something they have been dealing with for almost two years. And some residents even say “tricked” is a word that can be used to describe this whole mess that started in 2010, but finally some wheels are starting to turn as they head to court. People in Benton County call it the “Camden Dump” – a landfill that was supposed to be a recycling site, but instead caused an uproar in the community. “Amidst all the public outcry and the controversy lawsuits by the city and citizens trying to shut it down, the TDEC despite all that, re-permited to increase the size of it,” said Camden resident, Michael Melton. It was approved in October to expand from 5 to 42 acres. TDEC will now be in court in January, against a law, that the city of Camden has found could possibly change things. The “Jackson Law” gives some extra protection to local cities against landfills, like notifying the public of the proposed landfill, which the state did not do in this case. “We’re optimistic that it will help us in this case here,” said Melton. The Supreme Court ruled last week that the “Jackson Law” is relevant, in another similar case. So, Melton hopes this will help in their lawsuit to oppose the decision of TDEC to re-permit this aluminum facility, and move it out of Camden. “We believe the state violated its obligation to protect the public health of the citizens here and besides, the Jackson Law was not followed correctly,” stated Melton. Camden city officials say when the council signed off on this dump back in 2010, it was because they were told it was going to be a recycling center, but once the aluminum began coming in, instead, the smell of ammonia started to catch wind. “I come out my door one morning and bingo it almost knocked me down,” said Mayor Elvin Johnson. Mayor Johnson says it’s all about the money. The investors and bank involved will lose more than 10 million dollars if the landfill closes.