Proposal aims to tighten rules
Some are concerned about the effect the dumps could have on people's health.
By JEFF ORTEGA
COLUMBUS -- Construction demolition and debris landfills would be brought under the same regulations as regular solid-waste dumps under a proposed constitutional amendment filed with the state Wednesday.
Backers of the proposed amendment, R Lives Count Too, a citizens group, want the issue on the November 2006 statewide ballot amid fears that more dumps may set up shop in Ohio without the proposed regulation.
Backers say they fear the impact the dumps could have on nearby residents and their health.
The group filed the summary statement with the state attorney general's office, which will determine whether the statement is fair and accurate.
If the attorney general upholds the summary language, backers would need to file 322,899 signatures by August to get the issue before voters, according to Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State's office. That number represents 10 percent of the ballots cast in the 2002 governor's race.
Backers say the proposed regulation is necessary.
Industry has grown
Debbie Roth, a Warren resident and president of R Lives Count Too, said when the state's CD & amp;D laws were passed, the industry was smaller than it is today.
Now, & quot;it's large companies hauling debris out of the East Coast, & quot; Roth said.
There are 69 active construction demolition and debris landfills throughout the state, said Linda Oros, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Critics of construction debris landfills say more such sites could come to the state without the proposed additional regulation.
& quot;This is critical to the citizens of the state, & quot; Roth said. & quot;There's more and more landfills and more and more communities being put in this situation."
Landfill critics say state law provides limited oversight of CD & amp;D dumps. The proposed constitutional amendment would require the state to adopt rules as stringent as siting criteria for solid-waste dumps.
A state legislative committee has been studying the issue of CD & amp;D landfills and is preparing to issue a report that would likely cover a host of issues including siting requirements.
Reps weigh in
State Sen. Marc Dann, a Trumbull County Democrat who is on the legislative committee, said he thinks stricter rules are needed.
State Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood, a Niles Democrat who also is on the committee, said she also thinks CD & amp;D dumps should have regulations as strict as solid-waste dumps.
The proposed ballot issue is also drawing support from state Rep. Randy Law, a Warren Republican.
& quot;I view the issue as part of a multipronged attack, & quot; said Law, who sponsored a bill in the Ohio House that would strengthen state regulations on CD & amp;D landfills. His bill is pending.
& quot;I think it's important to use all the tools in our arsenal. & quot;
Representatives of the CD & amp;D industry couldn't be reached to comment.
Roth said if the attorney general's office approves the proposal's summary statement she's confident that her group can get the necessary signatures to place the issue before voters.
Roth said she thinks the group would have to raise more than $1 million for its campaign push.