Legislators, local leaders ask mayor to help stop landfill expansion

State Sen. Brenda Gilmore calling on the mayor to stop the planned landfill expansion.

State Sen. Brenda Gilmore along with state Rep. Vincent Dixie held a news conference asking Nashville city leaders to curtail a planned expansion of Waste Management’s Southern Services Landfill.

The state lawmakers were joined by state Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Metro-Nashville Councilman Jonathan Hall and Dr. Rev. Judy Cummings, pastor of New Covenant Church as well as other community leaders.

“We are begging Mayor Cooper, whom this community overwhelmingly supported, to take a rightful place and defend the residents in this part of the city,” said Sen. Gilmore. “It’s time for waste management to move to a different home.”

Last month, Rep. Dixie and Sen. Gilmore held a virtual town hall meeting attended by Waste Management officials and more than 100 community residents to discuss the planned 17-acre expansion. Residents voiced several concerns to Waste Management:

1) Bordeaux has housed landfills for over 50 years. This community has shouldered the city’s waste burden for far too long and is tired of literally being the city’s dumping ground.

  • Health concerns – The community experiences a high rate of cancer. Many believe it is due to the close proximity of the landfill.
  • Economic concerns – Because of the landfill and odor, many residents cannot sell their homes and do not see the rate of equity increase as compared to other parts of town. In addition, development has shied away from the area due to the landfill.
  • Odor is still a problem.
  • Safety concerns – Trucks entering the highway create an abundance of debris and dust.

The community leaders’ group is asking that Metro Government step in and activate the Jackson Law requiring local approval for landfills and veto the expansion.

“This area has overwhelmingly born the burden for the rest of the city for decades now,” said District Councilman Jonathan Hall. “Fifty plus years of environmental and socioeconomic racism has engulfed this community.”

According to Hall, the landfill has contributed to the areas unusually high cancer and chronic illness rate, causing the district to have the highest fatality rate from the coronavirus in Nashville.

“We can’t even begin to touch the amount of damage that has been done to this community,” he said.

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