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Rockingham County

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“Economic Development” Through a Rockingham Landfill–at What Cost to the Region?

Summer, 2011

A Rockingham County developer, whose business partner is under investigation by Securities and Exchange Commission, filed in May for a special use permit for a landfill and recycling center on 350 acres just outside Eden. After local meetings scheduled in late June, the planning board will meet again on July 18th. The landfill is to be built on the Whitt property on NC 135 just SW of Eden. The proposed landfill would process household and industrial waste, but supposedly no toxic waste.

Tommy Flynt, who represents Eden on the Rockingham County Board, said “the amount earned [by landfill] is not significant enough for [me] to support the project.” William Osborne, a local political party leader and construction company owner, believes the landfill will, “adversely affect the economy of the county” and that he, “would not build another piece of property in Eden if the landfill goes through.” Controversial statements have indicated that the landfill will accept coal ash from the nearby Duke Energy plant and captured methane gas; Coal ash is currently not designated as toxic waste, though it contains metals such as lead and is known to pollute water and air. However, residents are generally uneasy with the potential economic and quality of life issues associated with a landfill next to the Dan River in a floodplain wetland.

Residents have also learned that waste may be shipped from the northeast, raising further questions about toxicity and the potential to contaminate the river, the source of Eden’s drinking water. For more information contact: Dan River Basin Association, Tiffany Haworth, thaworth@danriver.org, 336-627-6270, William Osborne, wosborne321@gmail.com, or Jeffrey Sykes, local resident, jeffreyhsykes@gmail.com.