Letter to the Editor – February 7, 2018

We must respond to the article by John Holler about the recent denial of the rezoning application of Advance Disposal, Inc. (Rolling Hills Landfill) to allow construction of a new landfill. (Monticello Times, 1-25-2018, Annandale Advocate, 1-24-2018). Several statements attributed, in quotes, by Commissioner Borrell were offensive, misleading, or simply incorrect. Apparently Commissioner Borrell considers citizens who exercise their constitutional rights to testify before their elected officials, to be a “mob”. This characterization is offensive; it shows disdain for citizens who don’t agree with his opinion. Our testimony was INVITED by the County Commissioners. Citizen input is desirable and important to maintain our democracy. Our testimony consisted of reasoned arguments and well documented information all presented in a calm and respectful manner. To then have Commissioner Borrell express such disrespect, calling us a “Mob” simply because our arguments were persuasive to the other Commissioners is just wrong. We are grateful to the majority of the Board of Commissioners for realizing a new landfill is not needed, is inappropriate for this location, and most importantly is inconsistent with the Wright County Comprehensive Plan and Northeast Quadrant Land Use Plan. These plans were developed and adopted by the county with participation by all of the township and city governments of Wright County. Multiple Boards of County Commissioners have consistently denied repeated applications for landfill operations at this location since 1998. The current mountain of refuse know as Rolling Hills Landfill was enabled through legal action following denial by the Board of Commissioners.

Mike Niewind is quoted saying there is only enough capacity to operate the current landfill for little over a year. This statement is totally disingenuous. The landfill would have been full years ago had they not deliberately throttled back operation in order to keep it open while pursuing a new one. His one year estimate suggests they apparently intend to try yet again to rezone the location for a new landfill after this year’s elections. This will be the third attempt. These repeated applications have become abusive. It is time for Advance Disposal, Inc. and Commissioner Borrell to accept the wishes of the citizens of Wright County, close Rolling Hills Landfill, and move on!

Comments made by Commissioner Borrell in the article are misleading or simply wrong. The MPCA did not “approve” the new landfill as implied by the article. In fact the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) clearly states (Section 8) there is no need for this new landfill given the ample landfill capacity that already exists, and alternative, preferable means of disposing of waste.

Commissioner Borrell makes the incredible statement that citizens of Wright County will now have to pay extra to ship their garbage to southern Minnesota or South Dakota. Apparently, he chooses to completely ignore operating landfills/energy recapture facilities in Big Lake and Elk River with ample capacity to accept Wright County’s waste. He knows that 80% of the waste deposited in the existing Rolling Hills landfill come from outside of Wright County (as stated by Mike Niewind). The EIS reveals 85% of the waste expected to be deposited in the proposed new landfill would have come from outside Wright County from as far away as Rochester, MN or western Wisconsin (EIS Section 8).

Commission Borrell argues that “modern landfill technology” has not failed for twenty (20) years and therefore it will be safe FOREVER, which is the requirement. This statement defies logic. Twenty years of experience cannot predict what will happen FOREVER! On the other hand, laws of physics, specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics, predicts the structure will eventually fail. The article states “The MPCA has found no significant issues with the property…” This also is incorrect. The MPCA has notified the county and neighborhood residents that the ground water under the neighbor’s property continues to be contaminated by vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, leaking from Rolling Hills Landfill. We encourage the citizens of Wright County to stand behind the majority of county commissioners who have consistently followed the Wright County Comprehensive Plan and Northeast Quadrant Land Use Plan by denying repeated attempts to “spot zone” a new landfill in a totally inappropriate location.

Mark Rise, Jeff Young, Tim & Jody Tuffs, Christine & Noah Youngs, Dave & Jean Bryant, Deborah Scherber

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