Hearing will give residents chance to talk about landfill

By Tova Fruchtman: Quay County Sun

This is the first of a three-part series about the proposed Tucumcari Landfill. In upcoming papers the arguments for and against the landfill will be flushed out in more detail.

Area residents will soon have an opportunity to share their opinions on the proposed new landfill in Tucumcari with New Mexico Secretary of Environment Ron Curry.

More than five years ago, the City of Tucumcari began planning to build a new landfill.

Now, the extensive application — consisting of three thick binders full of documents — is complete.

However, the procedure for receiving a landfill permit has one more step — a public hearing.

On April 13, a representative of the Solid Waste Bureau will come hear arguments from both sides on whether the landfill should be built.

Although the deadline has passed for people to sign up to give technical testimony ( data pertaining to pollution or ground water) anyone is still welcome to come speak for or against the landfill.

Those who cannot attend, or do not wish to speak can also submit their argument in writing.

Jim Norton and John Goldstein of the Solid Waste Bureau and the Environmental Department said all landfills have to go through this process.

Norton said the Environmental Department holds the hearings and requires the extensive application process in order to prevent landfills from polluting the ground water in the area where they are built.

But Norton said the hearing also gives the people of Tucumcari a chance to tell Curry what they think.

“The hearing is really for the people of Tucumcari, so I would encourage them to come,” he said.

Representatives of both the city and county government will attend the meeting to speak in favor of the landfill and the money they expect it will save area residents, but they expect opposition.

Some of those who oppose the building of the Tucumcari landfill, own the property that borders the site. They will argue that the site the city has purchased is not suitable for the purpose of building a landfill, according to a lawyer representing one of the members of opposition.

Residents can use the hearings as their opportunity to support either side, or just to learn more about the process the city is going through to put in this landfill.

At the end of the hearings Curry will receive a report of everything discussed and will make the final decision on whether to issue the permit.

Quay County Manager Terry Turner also encouraged residents to attend the hearing.

“I think it would be a good education for the public,” he said.