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Cortland Township Suit Against Landfill Stalls

It was a long and contentious gathering in the Cortland Township maintenance garage last night: about 75 registered voters showed up to decide whether to take legal action to stop Waste Management’s planned landfill expansion there. 

Attorney Jeffrey Jeep told the crowd they had a good case based on a township’s rights to prohibit the deposit of waste within its boundaries. He said his law firm could take it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court for less than $60-thousand. But the majority of electors didn’t want the fees to come out of the township’s budget. Cortland’s town clerk Cheryl Aldis voted to allow the lawsuit to proceed only when supporters raise all the money needed for it.

If the supporters can come up with the $60-thousand, then absolutely, pursue it.

Voters tabled other decisions on the legal actions until the township’s annual meeting in April. It was a disappointing night for Frankie Benson, who had organized Thursday’s votes. She says Waste Management could move ahead with its expansion by then.  She plans to be ready for anything at the annual meeting, scheduled for April 16th.

A group that has opposed the expansion for the past few years,Stop the Mega Dump, is still waiting to hear if the Illinois Supreme Court will take up its case against Waste Management and DeKalb County for approving the expansion.

Waste Management wants to be able to accept trash from 17 other counties. DeKalb County officials are still waiting for additional fees from the increased garbage intake: that’s how they plan to pay for county jail expansion. The town of Cortland is also expecting one million dollars from Waste Management once the landfill is expanded. Some of the people who have been fighting against the expansion for several years were upset with Thursday’s voting process, with several Cortland town government officials moving to cut off debate during sometimes-raucous exchanges. 

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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