Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Overture Made for Ware Landfill; NAMCo Offers to Rebid to Handle a Waste Other Than Coal Ash

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Overture Made for Ware Landfill; NAMCo Offers to Rebid to Handle a Waste Other Than Coal Ash

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE HAWKINS

WAYCROSS - A Florida company with a 4-year-old contract to bury coal ash at Ware County's unused Tri-County landfill has proposed to cancel the deal in a way that won't cost taxpayers a dime.

North American Metal Co., or NAMCo, wants the county to rebid the landfill lease, specifying a type of waste more palatable to the community, and it be one of the bidders.

Under the deal offered at the County Commission's Thursday work session, NAMCo would recoup money it has invested in landfill improvements. The company would be paid by the winning bidder or, if NAMCo wins the bid, by way of rent credits.

NAMCo has said in court documents it has spent $2 million, but did not specify how much of that was spent directly on landfill improvements.

NAMCo founder Sonny Harwell said the four-your gridlock over the Tri-County landfill contract has posed a "heck of a situation" for his company, and he wants to work something out.

"We've both been stuck over this problem for a long time. Let's try to un-stick this," Harwell said. "We understand this county, like so many other places, is a victim of economic hard times. But we don't want to leave our money here in this project. That's not practical for us."

Ware County commissioners did not respond to the offer and said they would discuss it in a closed session because it involves possible litigation.

Ware's existing contract with NAMCo would have paid the county $19 million to bury 11 million tons of coal ash captured from the smokestacks of Florida power plants. But residents feared the heavy metals from the ash would one day leach into drinking water.

A citizens group, the Anti-Landfill Corporation, formed and sued the county and Georgia's Environmental Protection Division over the landfill lease and permit. The case is pending in Superior Court.

Responding to public pressure, a newly seated County Commission voted Jan. 12 to terminate the contract, subject to negotiating an agreement with NAMCo. …

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