Communities in Action

Moretown, VT: Dirty Landfill Attempts To Expand:
Citizens fight back

In the fall of 2012, Toxics Action Center received a call from a Moretown resident concerned about a massive landfill expansion.  The Moretown Landfill, owned and operated by Advanced Disposal Services, is quickly reaching capacity and pushing to double its operating size, to avoid shutting down.

The landfill has committed numerous violations, and is already polluting by contributing to groundwater contamination and noxious off-site odors. Continued landfill operation also means further blasting which has already caused damages to concrete and sheetrock and threats to private drinking wells. Neighbors are concerned not only with the current pollution issues, but with the possibility of these issues escalating with the proposed expansion.

In October, Toxics Action Center began meeting with residents in the area, and neighbors decided to collaborate to protect their health and the environment by forming the community group C.L.E.A.R. (Citizens for Landfill Environmental Accountability and Responsibility). Members of C.L.E.A.R. quickly began to build a movement in their community by frequenting local Development Review Board hearings, providing input into the permitting process, and shining a spotlight on the issue in the media.

Toxics Action Center’s Vermont Community Organizer, Kalyn Rosenberg, has provided skills training, networking and assistance with neighborhood outreach for the group, helping advance the efforts of local leaders. As the state moves forward in its decision-making process, residents continue to urge decision makers to move towards a model of zero waste to minimize Vermont’s dependence on polluting landfills. Recently, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) indicated concern about continued operations at the landfill and residents are hopeful that the landfill’s thirteen year history of violations will soon come to an end. Martha Douglass of C.L.E.A.R. called for support from her neighbors: “Vermont citizens that have smelled the dump from nearby and afar and that care about the future of our Green Mountain State and the environment need to speak up now and support the ANR in keeping the state moving in the direction of zero waste.”