Supervisors: No application filed yet for proposed oilfield landfill

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has not yet received an application for an oilfield waste dump in Adams County to prompt the need for a public hearing on the issue, supervisors said during their Monday meeting.

For the past month, the proposed dump has been a topic of concern for county residents who live near the planned site, which is located off U.S. 61 on Shieldsboro Road in southern Adams County.

Millicent Graning came to Monday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors to inquire again about it.

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Graning said she went to make a public records request for the county’s “amended solid waste management plan, required every county state,” which would be needed before the oilfield waste landfill is built.

However, that record doesn’t exist because that amendment would be prompted by an application submitted to MDEQ, which hasn’t been done yet, said Scott Slover, who is the supervisor’s attorney.

Supervisor Kevin Wilson, who owns the land to be sold to a company operating the landfill, stepped out of the meeting to avoid impropriety. But he previously said during an October meeting the need for such a facility is great in this area.

This was before attorney Slover informed him that being part of the discussion as a public official and the landowner would be improper.

“We used to have a place in Jefferson County at the dump up there but that dump is in such bad shape, we can’t do that anymore, so we have been shut down for probably two years. Any trucks in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have to go to a place close to Bossier City or another place in south Louisiana,” Wilson said.

Other supervisors have no authority concerning the waste dump and no zoning ordinances exist that would stop it from being built, Slover said.

“Before the board can make any type of determination to change its solid waste plan, you would have to have an application, which there has not ever been any application before,” he said. “So, nothing has changed on that end. … There’s a specific form that MDEQ has that has not been before this board.”

Slover said that once the county Board of Supervisors does receive the form from MDEQ, a public hearing would be held and residents who’ve come before the supervisors already to voice their concerns would be specifically notified in addition to a public notice being printed.

Graning said she is satisfied with that answer.

Graning added she is concerned about the state agency not having the authority to cite the new landfill for compliance issues.

“I was doing a little research and I did find out that in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is authorized to implement and govern (regulations) involving hazardous and solid waste,” Graning said. “The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Office of Environmental Compliance is the regulating body that carries out these responsibilities and it ensures that any ensuing regulations are at least as stringent as those at the federal level. Mississippi is not able to take care of any corrective action … so if someone is out of compliance in Mississippi, then the (Environmental Protection Agency) has to step in. I think that’s what maybe is happening at the Jefferson County landfill is they’re having compliance issues, but there’s no one with the state that is able to get them back in compliance. …

“So, here’s my concern. If the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality cannot make someone stay in compliance and we’re going to be depending on a federal EPA, it doesn’t seem to be working in Jefferson County and I’m concerned that it’s not going to work here in Adams County.”

Although he wasn’t in the room for the discussion, Graning publicly urged supervisor Wilson to reconsider putting the landfill on his property, which is adjacent to a National Wildlife Refuge and a church.

“I would like there to be an industrial location for this, not out in the county next to where people live,” Graning said “They have water wells; they have hunting property. I don’t know what that centrifuge rating is or how loud that’s going to be if it runs 24 hours a day. But I just don’t know that this is the right location and I understand there’s been no application and until there’s an application for them it’s really all speculation. …

“I am asking Kevin to really reconsider locating somewhere else, just because I don’t think this is the right location and it’s across from a historic church.”