Canton Repository

November 8, 2003

Regula blocks proposals to build two area landfills

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, has moved to block development of two proposed landfills in or near his congressional district through a rarely used legislative provision.

By crafting language that would bar the Army Corps of Engineers from reviewing the projects, Regula hopes to use an energy and water spending bill as a vehicle to stymie plans to build the Ridge Sanitary Landfill in Tuscarawas County and the Indian Run Landfill in Stark County. A landfill can’t be built without the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers corps, which receives its funding from the energy and water bill.

As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Regula was able to help shape the $27.3 billion legislation, which would fund the Department of Energy and other federal agencies. It is headed for likely approval in the House and Senate.

The bill also includes $1 million in federal funds to help Stark County build two detention basins to control flooding at the Zimber Ditch in the northern part of the county. And it includes $1.6 million to control seepage at Magnolia Levee near Bolivar Dam, at the Stark-Tuscarawas county line.

Regula managed to derail the Ridge landfill in similar legislation that was signed into law last February. He announced in the summer that he was seeking to stop Indian Run, too.

Funding bills of this sort have to be rewritten and re-enacted every year, meaning that Regula would have to repeat his maneuver on an annual basis to continue foiling the two landfill projects.

Municipal Solid Waste Services in Akron, the developer of Indian Run, wants to locate the disposal site northwest of Waynesburg on the south edge of Stark County.

Norton Environmental of Independence wants to put the Ridge Landfill on a 345-acre abandoned strip mine south of Wilmot in northwest Tuscarawas County.

Tuscarawas County is part of a congressional district represented by Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville, who has worked with Regula on the prohibition. Stark County is within Regula’s district.

Regula said he’s concerned the landfills would pose a danger to underground drinking-water supplies. He also believes Stark County already has enough landfills. Both projects have drawn widespread public and local government opposition.

Spokesmen for the landfill developers were not available Friday for comment on Regula’s action.