By a near unanimous decision the Winnebago County Board votes to approve a controversial landfill expansion.
According to fire marshall regulations, the board room should only seat 75 people. By the time the vote got around it was standing room only.
A large turnout of supporters for the expansion stood with the group from Rock River Environmental Services. And a few, against the landfill since the beginning stuck it out until the votes were tallied even though they felt like they knew what was coming.
"They got over 2,000 letters and still they voted for it. It's hard to understand," said Linda Krause.
She is like many who've opposed the expansion from the get go. She's been to public hearings and meeting and like her peers, took advantage of the opportunity to comment.
"Everyone had a chance to speak, to be heard or send in a written testimony," explained county board Chairman Scott Christiansen.
Smell, property values and future development are just a handful of reasons why folks didn't like the idea of the expansion.
But when it came down it, the people's voice just wasn't enough.
"While there was plenty of public comment that raised exactly that point, there wasn't enough competent evidence to overcome the sworn, competent testimony, to the contrary," said hearing officer Derke Price.
Rock River Environmental Services President John Lichty is pleased with the board's decision. For the 250 employees representing Rock River, a sigh of relief. But for those who stand behind key expansion opponent Marty Maggio, a labored breath of what they smell as foul business.
"This was incredibly important for us to remain competitive in the area and to be a fully integrated waste company," said a relieved Lichty.
But Maggio isn't ready to give up.
"Next week they're going to file an appeal to the pollution control board. We'll start there and we'll see what happens from there," said Maggio.
The next step in this process is for Rock River to get all of the needed permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to go forward with construction.
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