Oakville continues to fight landfill in their backyardSep 12th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: news
Residents in opposition to a proposed coastal use permit for Industrial Pipe, a local landfill, were granted a chance to speak on record, as were the owners and operators of the facility in question.
The landfill, owned by Kenneth Stewart and Stewart Enterprises, was built in the community of Oakville, approximately three miles south of the Naval Air Station. The request up for discussion at the Council meeting was concerning the recent application, and recommendation for approval by committee review, for a coastal use permit, which would allow for some expansion of operations on the already permitted site, according to Stewart.
During the hour long discussion, Plaquemines citizens and Corinne Van Dalen, an attorney with the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic both revamped the myriad of concerns about foul odors, rats, insects, a lack of perimeter fence and fires.
“This will continue to endanger the community we love,” said Bishop Wilfret Johnson, of Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Port Sulphur. “We’ve been fighting this for years. The Council has changed, but the problem hasn’t.”
“Our children have nowhere else to play except next to that… [and] I don’t want that,” said Rose Jackson, an Oakville resident whose house is only streets away from the recycling plant. “I know this is a money issue, but it’s also a health issue [for us].”
Timothy Schotsch, the General Manager of Riverside Recycling company, which operates on the site, said that many of the grievances stressed by residents are being addressed. The recent talks leading to a fence around the site for additional safety is one example.
As for the concerns about odor and pest problems, Schotsch said that the nature of their business should preclude such nuisances.
“We’re a construction and demolitions [waste] site only,” Schotsch said. That means no food or other debris that should draw rodents and pests searching for food, according to Schotsch.
However, all discussion aside, the crux of the argument from residents became not about this one specific coastal use permit, but the legality of the site overall.
As the discussion expanded, owner Kenneth Stewart said that the single point of contention, the very existence of the site, is what has made consultation so difficult on the matter. As Stewart said, it is hard to find middle ground on the subject of people not wanting you around.
The discussion on the matter will continue at the Council’s next meeting, when the matter can be introduced for vote.