Council plans first public discussion of administration waste plan tonight

February 22, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

The County Council will take its first public look at the administration's solid waste management plan tonight.

"The plan is still pretty vague, but it pins down the fact that we would be sending trash out of the county in a couple of years rather than putting it in the [Alpha Ridge] landfill," said L. Scott Muller, a Marriottsville resident who has helped lead the fight to close the landfill.

Cancer-causing contaminants have been discovered in test wells at the landfill, but have not been found in nearby residential wells.

Mr. Muller, also a member of the 15-member advisory committee that developed the waste plan over the past 18 months, said he hopes the council will adopt it despite what he says is a lack of specificity.

The plan calls for the county to recycle 28 percent of its trash, work with other jurisdictions to solve trash removal problems on a regional basis and set up new ways to pay for disposal, including homeowner fees based on the volume or weight of trash each household generates.

People testifying on the plan tonight are expected to raise ethical questions about the county dumping trash elsewhere and legal questions about what happens when it does. If exported trash later leads to hazardous conditions at a dump site, the exporter is liable and can be forced to help pay for the cleanup.

Discussion of the waste plan is slated to come last at tonight's 8 o'clock hearing in the county office building. Prior to discussing the plan, the council will receive testimony on 19 other bills and resolutions, including an anti-tobacco measure and a gun-control suggestion.

The tobacco resolution, sponsored by Darrel Drown, R-2nd District, and endorsed by Paul R. Farragut, D-4th, and Shane Pendergrass, D- 1st, urges business owners to get rid of cigarette vending machines, particularly those accessible to minors.

Mr. Drown said he would have preferred that the vending machine resolution become law, but was dissuaded after laws banning cigarette vending machines in Bowie and Takoma Park areas accessible to children were declared unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals.

Tobacco lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano had challenged the ban on grounds that regulation of vending machines is a state prerogative that local jurisdictions cannot usurp.

Ms. Pendergrass praised Mr. Drown for coming forth with a resolution rather than a bill. "It was a good approach," she said.

Ms. Pendergrass put the firearms suggestion in the form of a resolution. Her resolution asks the legislature to approve gun-control legislation this session that is "reasonable and appropriate." Mr. Drown, Mr. Farragut, and Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, are endorsing the measure.

Ms. Pendergrass is also sponsoring a bill that would extend the life of legislation intended to help adult day care and child day care providers make improvements or alterations to their properties.

The original bill, which included an expiration date, offered property tax credits to homeowners who made the changes necessary to provide day care in their homes.

The council plans to hold a work session Feb. 28 on the legislation before it tonight and vote on it March 7.

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