DeKalb County approves landfill expansion

Sycamore, IL – The DeKalb County Board has given the go-ahead for Waste Management to expand its landfill operations in Cortland.

The board voted 16 to 8 before a tense overflow crowd at its meeting last night. Cortland resident Lee Anne Brei held a sign opposing the expansion that would lead to waste from 17 counties being hauled to her town. She says residents have had no voice in the process.

Opponents are promising election-time revenge against those who voted for the expansion. County Board Chair Ruth Ann Tobias says she had to vote yes: Waste Management had met all the criteria put forth by the state. The plan still needs approval from the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Tobias says that could take up to four years. During that time, there's a lot the county board can do to make sure Waste Management is toe-ing the line: Tobias says she wants to make sure the site is monitored: that includes testing groundwater, securing dump liners, and keeping garbage from "flying around."

The opposition group "Stop the DeKalb County Mega-Dump" is promising a fight. Organizers say they'll appeal to the Illinois Pollution Control Board, and beyond if necessary.