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Thanks to those who defend Morris

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

I would like to thank the Grundy County Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning and Zoning Committee and the full County Board for an overwhelming (all but one) rejection of the request for a zoning change from A-R to A so that a possible hog containment facility could be built in a highly populated area, affecting the quality of life of thousands of residents of Morris and Grundy County. They took the time to listen to the concerns of the citizens and acted in their interest.

We owe a great big “thank you” to April Gerstung and Ray Grossi for their many hours of work in researching the issue and keeping all of the neighbors informed as to the dates and times of any and all meetings. They are not the only ones that deserve a thank you, but if I start to name them I would probably forget someone, but to all concerned, another “thank you.”

I went to the planning and zoning meeting that the City of Morris had on the “second hand shop” issue (which we were told the issue was to be discussed on Jan. 25, 2012 and was not) and the room was full of store owners and interested citizens in opposition to the issue. This shows that a lot of people are concerned about the quality of life in our community and with enough people standing up for what they think is right our elected officials could and should listen to our concerns.

There is another issue before the city council that keeps returning like a bad penny, and that is the landfill expansion. In rewriting the county by-laws, someone entered the word “may” in the landfill terminology. I do not know who did it or what their incentive was to do so, but I can only speculate.

Arthur Hornsby has been on top of this issue since landfills were first being discussed many years ago, and understands all the issues involving the operation and effects, short and long term, of the continued operation of these facilities.  He has talked long and hard to the city council about this issue and by all that is printed is not making much headway in stopping this expansion. He needs our support and, as citizens, it is our responsibility to do all we can to preserve our community for future generations.

There are nine criteria for landfill expansion, three of which do not apply. The other six did not meet the criteria as required 10 years ago, and by all indications, nothing has changed. Any one of these could be grounds for rejection of the expansion. Ten years ago, we were told that landfill expansion was not up to any government agency, it was up to the citizens of the community and they have the final say, so let’s exercise this right and let our elected officials know that we do not need this threat to our water, air, land or environment. You can point at an article in the Morris Herald about Waste Management giving many taxing bodies in Will County over a million dollars. This is commendable, but they must “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

Waste Management is possibly making tens of millions of dollars every year off of this landfill. A million dollars is small change to them. They give this money now, but what will they do when the landfill closes? They are only responsible for the landfill for 30 years after it closes. Where will they be 50, 100 or 1,000 years after it closes, when it really starts causing major problems, polluting our environment and changing our landscape forever?

This million dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the eventual cleanup costs of the pollution that will occur.

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