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SC Leaders Fear Mega-dumps, May Halt New Landfills


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) ¿ Conservationists and residents who say they don't want to live near ever-rising mounds of garbage are urging South Carolina lawmakers to temporarily halt building new landfills or expanding dumps, saying a state with the motto "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places" shouldn't be the nation's pay toilet.

Proponents contend the landfills can bring in millions of dollars each year for cash-strapped counties, in part by accepting out-of-state trash. Plus, they say, those built in the last 16 years must meet federal requirements to ensure pollution doesn't spread into nearby land and watersheds.

But promises of money and jobs have been losing out to local opposition, and on Tuesday a state Senate panel is to consider a statewide moratorium on the state's landfill permitting process. The proposal, sponsored by five Democrats and four Republicans, would halt any potential expansion or creation of landfills until 2011.

"We've got to make certain we don't become the dumping ground of the rest of the country," said Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville. "This is a very urgent matter."

South Carolinians annually send more than 4 million tons of household trash to the state's 18 municipal solid waste landfills, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Currently, permits allow the landfills to take in more than twice that amount yearly. And under regulations that favored regional dumps, and caused about 60 smaller landfills to close a decade ago, the total could hit 42 million tons of trash yearly at 19 landfills.
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