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Sunny Farms and Attorney General’s agreement

It is with certainty that the consent agreement that was made between the Attorney General of Ohio and Sunny Farms Landfill came as no surprise to anybody who lives within a 10 mile radius of ground zero. The absolute intention of this so called agreement was much less focused on protecting the public interest than it was aimed at stripping any local authority of the ability to exercise their sworn duty to advocate for the public welfare and health, by whatever means deemed necessary. With the intent of pulling the rug from underneath the Seneca County General Health District being the primary objective, the aforementioned consent agreement was right on target.

I do not consider myself to be particularly naive but still, I can only shake my head in disbelief. There is an incontrovertible tactic codified with Ohio state law that has the full intent of stifling the exchange of information in regards to the effects that landfills have upon local landfills in Ohio. This is precisely the reason that the Ohio EPA kissed and made up with Tunnel Hill Partners/Sunny Farms Landfill mere days before the advent of a public hearing that would have exposed even more of the continued atrocities and, importantly, would have become a matter of public record. Considering that the scope of the now scrapped public meeting had already been severely and intentionally limited, one can only speculate as to what information it was that the EPA was so fearful of becoming public knowledge, in addition to becoming a matter of public record?

Another dubious aspect of the manner in which Ohio state laws operates in the Sunny Farms Landfill has threatened the health and welfare of local residents on a periodic basis for well over a decade. Yes, like the cancer on this region that it is, there are times that SFL goes into remission. Then there are the all too frequent times when they make living anywhere within 10 miles of ground zero to be an absolute hell on earth. To the point that anyone who lives outside of that radius would be absolutely incredulous if they were to fully comprehend the true extent. The sheer cumulative effect is damning to residents after a period of 12-15 years. This is especially true of the children and elderly who are subject to respiratory distress, as a result. Yet, state law treats these repeated assaults upon both children and adults alike as is they are all first time, isolated incidents. This reality absolutely shields the most egregious operators from effective regulation. Imagine what would transpire if every time a drunk driver was stopped, he was handled as a first time offender, regardless as to if it was his 15th offense. Now imagine that this same driver would be exempt from further legal action just as long as he promised to clean up his act going forward. Whereby law enforcement might choose to surveil his driving for a week or two. Getting past this milestone would earn him a clean driving record, at that point. Viola, our drunk driver has now been upgraded to a model citizen and let public welfare be damned.

In short, Ohio has a profound problem with the way it regulates landfills. The people who live in every affected district need to consolidate their concerns and then act accordingly. When it comes to time to vote for those candidates who vow to protect every neighborhood as if they, themselves, lived there. I can assure everyone that the residents in one small district do not have a place at the table. Would they have, if they all spoke at once? There is only one way to find out.

Karl Walters

Fostoria

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