Dumpbusters, the citizens group in Spencerville, OH (see RHWN #51), fighting a huge solid waste landfill proposed by Waste Management, Inc., has won a total victory. Waste Management withdrew its application November 16 because they had been given a choice by authorities: withdraw your application or have it formally denied.
Pump tests run on test wells during July had shown an underground hydraulic connection (water flow) between the proposed dump site and the town's municipal drinking water wells. Sally Teets, leader of the Dumpbusters, says she's convinced that the groundwater data were only influential with the authorities because Dumpbusters hired their own hydrologist to interpret the data and raised a political ruckus the likes of which Spencerville had never seen before. "They collected the data in July," she says. "They could have, and should have, turned down the application then. But they didn't act until we put tremendous pressure on them." THE LESSON? YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SCIENCE ON YOUR SIDE, WHICH IS TO SAY YOU MUST BE TECHNICALLY CORRECT IN YOUR ARGUMENTS. BUT BEING RIGHT ISN'T ENOUGH: IT'S LOCAL POLITICAL ORGANIZING THAT WINS THE DAY.
Dumpbusters celebrated their victory for a week, literally dancing in the streets. David slew Goliath, and it
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: citizen groups; landfilling; spencerville; oh; dumpbusters; groundwater;