Originally created 05/11/05

Developers fight landfill decision

CRAWFORDVILLE, Ga. - Developers of a proposed landfill in Taliaferro County hope to reverse a series of legal setbacks by taking their case before Georgia's Supreme Court.

Although such a reversal is against the odds, elected officials who have fought to keep the project out of Georgia's smallest county aren't taking any chances.

"It ain't over till it's over, and it will be a fight to the very end," said Jane Hubert, one of three county commissioners who spent a night in jail last year as part of their campaign to block the 1,000-acre landfill proposed by Complex Environmental Inc. of Atlanta.

The company bought property in Georgia's least populous county with plans to establish a major solid waste disposal site. Although it won several rounds of litigation, Georgia's Environmental Protection Division ultimately rejected its request for permits for the project.

The company appealed, contending that EPD Director Carol Couch overstepped her authority in rejecting the permit request. That appeal was turned down March 22 by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which also rejected a request for rehearing last month.

The landfill developer has given notice that it will appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, said Justine Thompson, an attorney with the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, which is helping residents opposed to the landfill.

The extended fight, meanwhile, has both helped and hurt the county, Ms. Hubert said.

"I honestly think the publicity from this landfill has made a lot of people stand up and look at Taliaferro County, which is good," she said. "They know we want to keep our environment clean, and they know we have a unity between politicians and the people."

But the battle has cost the county several hundred thousand dollars, she said, which is significant in a county where the entire annual budget is less than $2 million.

A call to Complex Environmental's attorney, Dick Wilson Jr., was not returned Tuesday.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.


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