COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) — After multiple sessions and an hour and a half of debate Wednesday morning, a bill that gives the Duck River some protection against a proposed landfill passed in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. It will now move forward for further approval.
House Bill 447 would classify the river as a Class II Scenic River, requiring permitting of certain water resource projects that follow rules made by the commissioner of environment and conservation.
The vote was met with cheers from many Maury County residents and environmental activists in the audience. The residents said they recognize the need for a landfill, but they’re concerned it would hurt the water for generations to come.
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The Duck River is the of the most biodiverse rivers in the country and serves as the sole water source for 250,000 people living in Middle Tennessee.
“We’ve had tremendous growth which is good, but we realize if we don’t take some measures to protect our most important natural resource, which is the river, it won’t be the same as it is,” said Maury County Resident Sam Kennedy.
In Maury County, the Jackson Law gives officials the right to review applications for landfill within one mile of city limits. The company running the potential Duck River site, Trinity Corporation, said this doesn’t apply to their proposal.
In their proposal, Trinity said the county is on the verge of a waste disposal crisis as their former landfill is now closed and the region is experiencing significant growth.
Trinity said its site will span 1,373 acres and is primarily a recycling and recovery site.
Nearby was the former Monsanto Chemical Corporation site. It is listed as one of the EPA’s superfund sites, one of the country’s most contaminated places. There are specific rules concerning what can be done on that land.
While residents expressed concern about the site running into the river with a new landfill project, TDEC said there are processes in place to protect the river from contamination.
The bill passed with an 11-6 vote.