Farmer goes hungry for his cause
A week later, he’s still at it. His aim, he said, is to make more people aware of his plight and gain the ear of county, state and agency officials so he can make his case to them personnally.
McPhillips launched his protest at the conclusion of a state Department of Environmental Quality hearing on a proposal from Waste Management Inc. for building a 40-foot, mechanically stabilized earthen berm along the highway side of its Riverbend Landfill, adding a couple of years of capacity.
The company is seeking authorization on a separate track to double the landfill’s footprint, giving it decades of renewed life. The berm is intended to allow the company enough operating time for its expansion proposal to play out.
Opponents have been filing appeals at every step, stringing out the process, and the landfill is projected to reach capacity sometime next year if nothing is done.
In a press release, McPhillips said his hunger strike was intended to “draw attention to the environmental calamity of expanding the landfill,” which abuts the family farm.
DEQ Permit Engineer Bob Schwarz received 300 submissions during the comment period, which closed Friday. Half of them, he said, came in after the hearing concluded.
Schwarz said the agency hoped to reach a decision by Monday, May 6.