Camden scores victory against controversial landfill - WSMV News 4

Camden scores victory against controversial landfill

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A judge says state authorities went too far in allowing a controversial landfill that has caused a big stink for one Middle Tennessee town.

Channel 4 News has reported for the past two years about the ammonia fumes in Camden coming from a landfill operated by Environmental Waste Solutions.

Camden residents have said the fumes create a terrible smell that is making them sick, and now a judge has told the state it illegally granted a permit for the landfill and said the state has 30 days to respond or close the landfill entirely.

Soon after the state decided to allow EWS to dispose of aluminum dross at the landfill, the community responded by saying its police officers would stop trucks from delivering it.

"And as the city was starting to act, the landfill went in to the court, got an injunction against the city and stopped the city from enforcing their own police powers. That's how powerful most landfills are. They can stop a city from having anything to say about a landfill," said attorney Elizabeth Murphy.

So, the residents of Camden pressed on with pickets, daily emails and then, finally, a lawsuit.

Now, the ruling by Chancellor Carol McCoy has come as a surprise. McCoy ruled the state violated the Jackson Law, meaning it issued a permit to the landfill before the city and county properly approved it.

"It was given illegally. It is considered null and void," Murphy said.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said its staff will review the contents of the chancery court's order with the attorney general's office in the coming weeks to determine how to best proceed within the 30-day limit.

But in Camden, residents feel like this is their first victory in years, although a lot can happen in 30 days.

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