The Jackson County Commission meeting room was filled to capacity with many citizens standing in the adjoining room and listening from the outside through the opened door Tuesday night as the Commissioners heard from NAACP President Ronstance Pittman and other citizens about their opposition to the proposed deep injection well permit. The permit is being requested by Waste Management to be drilled at their Springhill disposal site in Jackson County.
Pittman addressed the board and asked for relief in any way possible to bring this matter to a close for Jackson County, “I stand here before you tonight on behalf of the citizens of Jackson County as well as the NAACP requesting that you change the zoning of the landfill here prohibiting injection wells.” Pittman referenced a statute in making this request. She stated that Jackson County has listed support from local, state, and national officials and all had been in agreement with the county’s decision to stop the injection well in Jackson County.
Commission Chairman Eric Hill requested a report from county attorney Michelle Jordan. He said, “Michelle has worked tirelessly in helping us to bring this to a conclusion suitable for everyone.”
Jordan said, “This board doesn’t generally have the authority to enact and enforce ordinances over wells. The regulation of wells in the state of Florida is pre-empted to the state and to the water management district. Any action by this board in regards to wells has to be approved by the State of Florida.” She went on to say, “There are other avenues to stop the issuance of this permit. Waste Management has not sought approval from the county for a new development order or an amendment to an existing development orders on the property.” She said that currently the leachate on the property is disposed of offsite and with the deep injection well, it would be disposed of on site. To her knowledge, no request has been made by Waste Management for a new development order.
Jordan said, “If we want to make a pre-emptive strike, I would recommend that we seek a declaratory judgment from the court.” She said the county could also request injunctive relief from the court, seeking a temporary injunction asking the court to prevent Waste Management, even if the department issued a permit, preventing Waste Management from constructing that well until such time the court could determine if the county had the right to determine the placement of that well.
Commissioner Dr. Willie Spires made a motion, seconded by Clint Pate for the county attorney to file for a temporary injunction to prevent the installation of the well until it can be determined if the county has the authority to stop the installation of the deep injection well after state has given its approval. The motion passed 5-0.
In a second motion was made by Clint Pate and seconded by Chuck Lockey to prohibit all deep injection wells in Jackson County. The motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Jim Peacock casting the lone dissenting vote.
With all of the action taken Tuesday, it is a wait and see for the board and the citizens on whether or not if approval is given for the injection well to Waste Management
Chairman Hill opened the discussion to the floor with every citizen speaking to the board and the crowd voicing opposition to the deep injection well.
Monday night, the NAACP held a public meeting in Jacob addressing this same issue, and many of those attending that meeting showed to show their opposition on Tuesday night.