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[GreenYes] PRESS RELEASE: Illinois EPA Opposes Repeal of Ban on Landfilling Yard Waste
COALITION TO OPPOSE ATTACKS ON RECYCLING IN AMERICA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2002
Contact: Charlene Lemoine, WEAL 800-449-1010

ILLINOIS EPA OPPOSES REPEAL OF BAN ON 
LANDFILLING YARD WASTE

    Charlene Lemoine, spokesperson for the Coalition 
to Oppose Attacks on Recycling in America, today released 
a letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 
that refutes waste industry claims that the agency supports 
repeal of the State's 11-year old law banning landfilling of 
yard trimmings. That law, she stated, that has been integral 
to Illinois' recycling efforts, and its repeal would be 
devastating for the environment.

     Waste Management and the City of Peoria are 
advocating that the law be repealed for a test in the local 
landfill.  The City of Peoria's Public Works Director and a 
representative of Waste Management had met with the 
Illinois EPA to gain their support for the proposal and 
reported that they were "encouraged" by the agency to 
proceed.

     Mr. Michael F. Nechvatal, Manager of the Land 
Pollution Division issued a letter on behalf of IEPA 
Director Cipriano to correct the gross mischaracterization 
of the agency's position that was released today by the 
Coalition.

     In his letter dated December 19, 2001 and addressed 
to Mr. David Pittman, Mr. Nechvatal states:

     "Our position of requiring compliance with this law 
[banning the landfilling of yard trimmings] has 
remained consistent for over a decade and continues 
today.  We have encouraged any number of 
communities to provide landscape waste 
composting and have permitted a number of large-
scale compost sites around the state.  Also, we 
encourage home composting, mulching mowers or 
application at agronomic rates.  Landscape waste 
composting accounts for a significant portion of the 
measurable recycled municipal waste.

     "In response to a request from local governments, 
another Bureau of Land manager and I met with 
them, a representative of the Illinois Municipal 
League, an engineering consultant and a Waste 
Management representative.  This meeting provided 
an opportunity for them to talk to us about their 
opinions on the merits of placing landscape waste 
into certain types of landfills. This cannot be 
approved by this agency without a change in 
existing law.  WE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN CLEARER THAT 
THE BUREAU OF LAND ATTENDEES WOULD NOT 
RECOMMEND A POLICY CHANGE BY THE ILLINOIS EPA TO 
SUPPORT LEGISLATION ALTERING THE BAN ON LANDFILLING 
LANDSCAPE WASTE."  (emphasis added)
  
     Lemoine corrected another similar 
misrepresentation of the IEPA's position in the January 9, 
2002 Peoria Journal-Star. The Journal-Star editorial 
claimed that an IEPA staff member had stated that the 
Peoria Landfill was a so-called bioreactor. A bioreactor is 
one in which liquids are added in order to accelerate 
decomposition. The editorial had gone on to claim that the 
official had said that, as a bioreactor, it would be an 
appropriate place to test whether the addition of yard 
trimmings.accelerates decomposition.  

     In fact, Lemoine noted, Ms. Joyce Munie never referred 
to the Peoria landfill as bioreactor, but rather she clearly 
recognizes that the facility is not licensed to operate as, 
nor is it now nor has it ever been, a bioreactor.  These 
facts are on file with the landfill permit, she said.

     Lemoine expressed deep concern that the IEPA's 
position has been misrepresented by waste officials, and 
stated that he hoped that the Peoria County Board would 
not act on this matter on whether to join the City in 
requesting a repeal of the existing law based upon 
information which is directly contrary to the facts.

     PEACE and Peoria Area Greens, local 
organizations that are members of the Coalition, will be 
available for further comment at the Peoria Landfill on 
Thursday, January 10th at 2:00 pm as part of the tour being 
given by the City.

----

The Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling in America is an 
alliance of 12 national, regional and local groups organized by the 
Grassroots Recycling Network (www.grrn.org).

###

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