Opponents to claim city landfill will not meet regulations

By Tova Fruchtman: QUAY COUNTY SUN

Editor1s note: This is the second story of a three-part series about Tucumcari1s proposed landfill and the upcoming public hearings on the issue. This story lays out the argument of those who oppose the landfill. The proponents1 side will be explained in Saturday1s paper.

Groundwater contamination, inadequate landfill upkeep and lack of consideration for the possible historical significance of the proposed site are all arguments opponents of the Tucumcari Landfill will make at the Environment
Department’s upcoming public hearing on April 13-14.

The owners of the Picket Ranch — it borders the landfill on the north and east sides — have hired lawyers to represent them at the hearing.

Michelle Henrie and Mark Adams work at the Albuquerque-based firm that will represent the Picket Ranch.

In an e-mail to the Sun, Henrie explained her clients’ concerns. She also included a copy of the entry of appearance and statement of intent the group has submitted to the Environment Department in order to give technical testimony.

Three scientists will testify about the possibility for ground-water contamination and surface-water leakage at the proposed site, according to the documents.
In her e-mail, Henrie said they found the archeologist’s report in the application to be incomplete. An old cattle trail ‹ Chishum and Goodnight‹ runs through the landfill site, she said.

“We don’t think adequate considerations were given to these things,” Adams said. “It has the potential for a lot of historical significance.”

Jack Maes, former Tucumcari city manager and owner of property bordering the landfill, has concerns about the city’s upkeep of the landfill.

He said the city has been careless with his property, as it must use a 50- foot easement on his land to access the landfill site. Maes said he fears the pattern will continue once the landfill is in place.

“During the process, I’ve seen all damage and destruction with no regard for the rights of myself, the landowner, and once they have the green light, it will just be worse,” Maes said.

Maes said the city destroyed trees, removed a gate and ruined a drip-irrigation system on his property. District Judge Ricky Purcell declared in a summary judgment on Feb. 28 that the city should have access to the easement and should not be responsible for the property Maes claimed was destroyed. Maes thinks the city should pay for what it’s done.

“The reason I1m opposed to it now is how they1ve gone about the procedure,” he said. ” I’m upset they haven1t put a gate in already. They1re treating it like it1s their land.”
Henrie said she expects they will make their presentation on the second day of the hearing.

If Secretary of Environment Ron Curry does approve the landfill, the group will have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Adams said he doesn1t think this will be necessary.
” I think we1ll prevail at the hearing,” he said. ” I think the application the city filed just doesn1t meet all the Environment Department’s requirements.”