‘Stop the Mega-Dump’ arguments to be heard in September

By Melissa Mastrogiovanni

Stop the Mega-Dump met Monday night to update citizens on the appeal filed against the expansion of the DeKalb County dump.

Group Chairman Dan Kenney, said he received an email from the group’s attorney on Friday telling him that the Illinois Attorney General asked for a continuance in the case. Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard in September.

After the oral arguments are heard, it could be up to 12 months before the appellate court in Springfield reaches a decision, Kenney said.

Kenney said the group needs to generate more interest from community members to help pay for its legal fees. One proposed method was to educate the public on alternative waste technologies that are available, especially implementing recycling measures.

“Even Waste Management is buying up alternative energy technology companies because they realize they need to move away from landfills,” Kenney said.

Kenney said due to the continuance in its appeal, the group needs to consider their next steps.

If the Stop the Mega-Dump group loses its appeal, it could take its case to the Supreme Court, Kenney said.

While citizens wait on the appeal process, Mac McIntyre, Stop the Mega-Dump member, said people can ask the DeKalb County state’s attorney and the Attorney General if township law supersedes county law. McIntyre said there is a case for this claim.

“We have to fight them according to their rules,” McIntyre said.

Cortland will receive $1 million in compensation for expanding the dump which could potentially take in garbage from 17 Illinois counties, including Cook County.

“The main question citizens should ask is whether the government should be allowed to sell their responsibility to protect its citizens,” McIntyre said.

Aubrey Serewicz, toxicologist and main witness for the people against Waste Management at the March 2010 hearing, said he has done extensive research on the physiological effects on people surrounding the dump.

Serewicz said the harmful gas hydrogen sulfide escapes from the landfill and can accumulate to dangerous levels in the surrounding areas, especially the nearby Cortland Elementary School.

Serewicz said the school district hired someone to come in and install a monitoring system which would alert school officials if there were dangerous levels of harmful gases in the air. However, the data collection device is easily tampered with, Serewicz said.

“Clearly, the best interest of the people of Cortland have not been represented during the whole thing,” McIntyre said.

The group is scheduled to hold another meeting April 9.