Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) is posing this conundrum: If a landfill goes away, it still won't go away.
On Tuesday, Beale said he has asked Gov. Pat Quinn not to sign legislation that would prevent the owner of a landfill partly in his Far South Side ward from de-annexing from Chicago, which has a moratorium on landfill expansion. The deadline for Quinn to act on the bill is Aug. 28.
Park Ridge-based Land and Lakes Co. won a lawsuit in May allowing it to leave Chicago. The company wants to expand and extend its operations at the site, but it can't do it as long as it is within Chicago's municipal boundaries.
Part of the landfill site already is in the adjoining village of Dolton.
But not everyone agrees with Beale. Last month, the Cook County Board called on Quinn to sign the bill, HB 3881. Commissioner William Beavers, whose district includes the landfill, sponsored the resolution.
Beale said he is taking an unpopular decision, but pointed out that the landfill will remain at the same site, even if municipal boundaries are redrawn. He said he wants "to keep the revenue and the tax base and the jobs" in Chicago.
"All I am asking is for the governor not to sign and give us more time to vet this thing," he said.
Peggy Salazar, acting director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, said her group wants Quinn to sign HB 3881, which would keep the Chicago side of the landfill inactive and ensure the Dolton side is closed down when it reaches its capacity in 2013.
The environmentalists want to make the area a "recreational destination," not lock themselves into more years of landfill operation, she said.
In one way, her argument is similar to Beale's: "You can't physically move that property," she said."That is why we are trying to stop them from operating at all."
UPDATE: Governor Pat Quinn on July 22 signed a law preventing new landfills from being built and existing landfills from expanding in Cook County.
Read the governor's landfill press release.pdf here.
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