Obstacle emerges to proposed southeast Kansas landfill after nearly 7 months of debate

Associated Press

After months of debate, a major obstacle has emerged to a proposed southeast Kansas landfill.

Cherokee County commissioners have learned that the city of Galena will need their approval to submit an application for the landfill to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. But Commission chairman Richard Hilderbrand doesn't see that happening, The Joplin Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1CoFi0h ). He noted that the commission has always been "unanimous against it."

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Controversy arose after the Galena City Council acquired land and structured a contract for a 40-acre landfill on 160 acres near Riverton. The commissioners previously thought they would not be able to stop the proposed landfill project from moving forward, because the city of Galena owned the property and was able to annex the tract without the county's approval.

Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby said he was astonished to learn that before KDHE will review an application for a landfill permit, it has to be part of the county's waste management plan. The plans are controlled exclusively by the county commissioners unless they designate a city to be in charge.

"I can't believe we're this far into the process and no one knew about this," Oglesby said. "I think the city has acted in good faith, but apparently has had either erroneous or incomplete information."

The Galena City Council understands there is a county waste management plan it has to be in compliance with, Olglesby said. But the city was under the impression it could have a stand-alone plan that would incorporate the county plan.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com