Policy: Environment & Energy

Farm youth group drops landfill site plans

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News,Business,Agriculture,Energy and Environment

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) — A Future Farmers of America group has pulled out of a proposal to put a leadership center and farming laboratory on a site that was set aside for community projects when Waste Management Inc. applied to expand a Yamhill County landfill.

The company plans a 37-acre addition to its Riverbend Landfill, which neighbors have opposed, the Yamhill Valley News-Register reported (http://bit.ly/1kc0BF9).

The 450-acre Stewardship Plan was unveiled two years ago as Waste Management Inc. renewed efforts to expand the landfill and extend its life by up to 20 years.

Spokesman Kevin White of the Oregon Future Farmers of America Foundation said it would be difficult and expensive to get access from a highway to the site near the landfill.

And he said the group was "concerned about putting our students in a situation whereby they may have to defend the location."

Ramsey McPhillips, who farms next to the landfill, said he and other neighbors lobbied the group to withdraw, saying legal entanglements were inevitable because land-use lawsuits include lots the company offered the group to farm.

"I am relieved to see the FFA will no longer be used as a pawn by Waste Management to legally justify the landfill's destruction of our prime farmland in the courts," McPhillips said.

Expansion opponents recently suffered a setback when their attorney missed the deadline for submitting appeal documents to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

"We thought the FFA project fit well in the overall plan, and would have been an asset for our community," said Don Clements, chair of Waste Management's Stewardship Committee.

The committee plans to focus on a proposal to develop a project to create five local farm plots on 59 acres to grow food for local markets.

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Information from: Yamhill Valley News-Register, http://www.newsregister.com

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