Press Editorial

May 5, 2009

By Staff

Expansion of landfill not acceptable

King County wants to extend the life of its regional landfill — located just three miles south of Issaquah city limits and within the Issaquah School District — for another three to 13 years. There is a better way.Issaquah has been dealing with the 920-acre Cedar Hills Landfill since it opened in 1964. Most of King County’s garbage comes home to this monstrous dump. The landfill was supposed to close in the 1980s, when the county said it would become a park.

Thirty years ago, the dump was an environmental nightmare. A lawsuit was brought by nearby residents, who later collected thousands of dollars from King County taxpayers. Laws and county regulations changed, a citizen committee was named to oversee operations at Cedar Hills and today, residents are barely aware of the county’s dump.

In the past 30 years, only King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert has offered any hope that the county might actually close Cedar Hills Landfill in 2016 — now only seven years away. Lambert has done her homework regarding garbage incineration, a solution that comes with 21st century technology. She is pushing for King County to begin building a plant that will leave us with clean air and a power source.

“We should be looking at turning garbage into a resource,” she says.

King County residents are among the most “green” in the country, caring about their impact on the environment. Surely, they do care whether their garbage is being plowed under piles of dirt to begin the rotting process. About 930,200 tons of solid waste came to Cedar Hills just last year.

The county also has land adjacent to Cedar Hills where the county’s former alcohol treatment center was located. The site was proposed for a YWCA transitional housing program, but a judge recently ruled that the zoning does not allow for this use. Using this site to begin construction of a garbage incinerator might be more appropriate.

We stand behind Lambert in her fight for a better solution to garbage disposal, even if an incinerator were to be built at the current site of the Cedar Hills Landfill.

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