Lowndes Commissioners Kill Controversial Landfill Plan

The war of words over a controversial landfill is over - for now.

The Lowndes County Commision voted down a Georgia-based company's proposal to build a dump for construction and demolition debris near Burkville.

But it turns out it wasn't necessarily the concept that failed but the way the company presented it.

The end was pretty surprising. Most people agreed the controversy split the county into two equally passionate sides. But when the long awaited vote finally happened, the landfill died with a whisper.

The Georgia based Alabama River Partners pitched the 20 million dollar landfill and river port project as a way to bring new jobs to one of Alabama's poorest counties. But commissioners say the closer they got to the vote, the developer wouldn't make certain commitments.

"It wasn't the way it should have been," said County Commissioner Robert Harris. "There were some changes that needed to be made, but given the time we had to deal with it."

Opponents predicted an environmental disaster that would harm homeowners near the river.

"Apparently there were revisions and we felt like it was going to pass tonight," said Tina Moon, the lawyer for opponent group 'People for a Clean Blackbelt.'

The decision turned a tense meeting into a backslapper. But the people who opposed the plan aren't sure this is the end.

"Until our county can work together and come up with some stringent requirements for developers coming in here, they're going to keep applying and keep trying to come in," Moon said.

We wanted to ask Alabama River Partners about their plan, those changes that many commissioners say caused them concern, and their future options in Alabama.

But their lawyer refused to talk with us, and referred us to the company's spokesperson. She walked away from us without offering any comment.

Under Alabama law, county commissions must approve landfill plans before the developers can ask for state approval.

Tuesday's vote effectively kills this particular application, but does not prohibit the company from trying again.