Letter: Plenty of time for thorough study

[This was a letter to the editor in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jan 4th, 2023]

This spring, Republic Services plans to submit new applications to expand the landfill north of Corvallis.

Only 10% of the trash that comes into the dump is from Benton County; once expansion is approved, Republic will be free to haul even more waste — household, commercial and industrial — into our county.

As I’ve worked on this issue for the last two years, I’ve heard many people say, “Trash has to go somewhere. If we don’t let them expand the dump, what alternatives are there?”

The answer is, we don’t know, because Benton County has no waste management plan. Other counties have planning documents that look at current and future waste management impacts and strategies. It’s absurd to ask the county to consider further expanding the landfill before completing a thorough plan, including alternatives for decreasing and redistributing the waste stream.

Republic Services is in a big hurry to get its expansion plan approved because of “contractual obligations to dozens of parties” outside Benton County. This is Republic’s own problem — not Benton County’s. Our citizens should not be threatened and rushed to make an irreversible decision to solve the over-commitment issues of a huge national corporation.

Let’s take the time this important issue demands. Republic’s own estimates are that the existing landfill has capacity for at least 18 more years. That gives us plenty of time for a thorough study of what’s best for our county over the long run. It’s our future, not Republic’s, that’s important here.

Mark Yeager