Landfill hearing ends, decision awaited

Tova Fruchtman:Quay County Sun

City officials, the state Solid Waste Bureau and area residents each had an opportunity to share their views on whether Tucumcari should receive a permit for a new landfill on Wednesday and Thursday.

Technical testimony by engineers and other experts representing the city of Tucumcari, the Solid Waste Bureau and Pickett Ranch arguing whether the city’s landfill application met qualifications were given until late Wednesday night and throughout the day Thursday.

Felicia Orth of the Department of Environment served as the hearing officer and will present her assessment of the hearing to New Mexico Secretary of Environment Ron Curry, who will make the final decision.

“Eventually the secretary makes that decision and his decision will be based on the facts,” Jon Goldstein spokesman for the Department of Environment.

Except during breaks, the room was calm and quiet during the hearing.

Pat Pickett, who owns land that borders the landfill, said she and her husband thought the hearing was very fair, and appreciated the job Orth did.

She said she thought Orth was impartial, and gave them the opportunity to bring up “the concerns and issues that needed to be brought up.”

“We were very pleased with the hearing and the way it went and the participants,” Pickett said. “There’s a lot of people doing what they need to do. That’s just what we’re trying to do.”

Pickett said whatever happens, she and her husband will comply.

“We’ll just go with whatever the decision is and do what we have to do,” she said. “Somebody’s going to be very disappointed whether it goes in or not.”

City Manager Richard Primrose also said he thought the hearing went well and that the city proved their landfill would be in compliance with Department of Environment regulations.

“I think that everything that was required in the landfill application was addressed, and we comply with everything in the application,” Primrose said.

“I feel confident that we met all the criteria in the application and confident that we’ll get the permit,” Primrose said.

Goldstein said that Curry has no opinion of the Tucumcari landfill before he makes his final decision.

The city expects that the permit decision on the landfill will be made around August.