Port Authority Plan Has Merit

Efforts to get the now-closed Crossridge Landfill in Jefferson County cleaned up have proved futile for years. One can understand, then, why officials at Greenway Reclamation in Garden City, New York, thought their business plan might appeal to area residents.

Greenway has proposed doing environmental remediation work at the landfill in exchange for being given permission to reopen it. News of that idea sparked a firestorm of protest from Jefferson County residents and public officials.

No one wants to see the landfill accept garbage and trash ever again, it seems.

Last week, a way out of the dilemma was suggested by Jefferson County Port Authority officials. Why not give them a shot at cleaning up the landfill?

Port Authority members on Wednesday approved a resolution opposing the Greenway proposal — which has not yet been made formally to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Jefferson County does not need a new landfill, the resolution states. If Crossridge is reopened, it would accept refuse from outside the state, the resolution adds. Finally, the action notes that the landfill is only about 4,500 feet away from the county airport and reopening it would create a safety hazard for aircraft.

Port Authority member Jay Zatta suggested the agency could purchase the landfill, then obtain grants for environmental remediation. The land then could be used for a purpose other than waste disposal.

All that could be a tall order. For one thing, money would have to be found to purchase the landfill.

Complicating the matter is ongoing legal action over proper closure of the landfill by its owner, Joseph Scugoza. State authorities have levied about $24 million in fines against him, and they remain unpaid.

Perhaps — and yes, this is a longshot — an arrangement could be worked out between Scugoza and state authorities to make the Port Authority suggestion more feasible.

One way or another, the Port Authority plan clearly will be more appealing to Jefferson County residents than the Greenway proposal. For that reason, it should be considered.


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