Katie Kapa, 30, of New Haven is a member of Citizens for a Better New Haven, a group opposed to the landfill in the village. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
New Haven— A seven-month battle over a proposed landfill in the Village of New Haven is over with Rizzo Environmental Services’ announcement Tuesday it is withdrawing its application for a new landfill in the community.
Daniel VanDeKerkhove, president of Citizens for A Better Macomb County, a landfill opposition group, said he’s more than pleased this chapter in the fight, which began in July, is over.
“It feels like David and Goliath, but instead of somebody falling to the ground, we sat down and shook hands,” said VanDeKerkhove of New Haven.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel agreed Rizzo’s change of plans was a good idea.
“The Department of Environmental Quality has been very direct and responsive when we have asked them about the landfill capacity,” Hackel said. “There is no need for any additional landfill capacity in Macomb County.”
Longtime New Haven resident Henry Hunter said businesses should be transparent and get feedback from residents first, which in this case could have avoided the long fight over the landfill.
Selena Passeno, village of New Haven treasurer who was against the new landfill, said transparency is important and local government officials must remember whom they represent.
Instead of pursuing a new facility, Chuck Rizzo Jr., president and CEO of Rizzo Environmental Services, said he has reapplied to amend the Macomb County Solid Waste Plan to remove export quotas on household waste.
“This would basically promote exporting garbage out of the county and promote any additional recycling opportunities that the county could get,” Rizzo said. “The solid waste plan hasn’t been amended in more than 15 years and there are a lot of things that should be done. Solid waste plans are supposed to be updated every five years.”
Rizzo said there are landfill options in St. Clair and Genesee counties.
VanDeKerkhove said his group supports lifting export quotas. He said the quotas create a waste disposal monopoly in the county and lifting the limit allows for competitive pricing.
The landfill proposal was for more than 300 acres in rural Lenox Township.
It would have been south of Waste Management Inc.’s Pine Tree Acres Landfill, the state’s largest.
The plan prompted strong opposition in the New Haven community. The Lenox Township Board of Trustees voted against the plan, in part, because Lenox residents “already carry far more than their fair share of burden in accommodating the trash disposal needs of the residents of Macomb County,” trustees had said.
Staff Writer Jim Lynch contributed.