Citizens for Landfill Environmental Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) wants the town of Moretown to change its host-town agreement with Moretown Landfill to include measures to make the landfill more accountable and further suggested that those most affected by the landfill should receive the most benefit from landfill monies paid to the town.

Martha Douglass of CLEAR came before the Moretown Select Board on Monday, January 7, to propose changes to their host-town agreement with Moretown Landfill.

CLEAR, a coalition created last fall in response to the landfill’s proposed expansion, consists of a group of neighbors who live nearby the landfill and deal with the dust and odors the facility creates on an almost-daily basis. 

“How are you going to hold [the landfill] accountable?” Douglass asked, explaining that although Moretown Landfill currently faces pressure from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to present solutions for fixing several environmental violations, the town itself must take action to protect its natural resources and its citizens.

“We need to not rely on the state,” Douglass said. “We need to do this locally.”

In past years, the town has received over $500,000 annually from the host-agreement it maintains with Moretown Landfill, but Douglass suggested amending the language and conditions of this agreement to clarify several “gray areas” and create greater benefits for the town.

“The people who are most affected should benefit the most,” Douglass said, although she was unclear about exactly what those benefits for residents who live near the landfill would look like.

Douglass was clear in her recommendation that the town needs to hire an employee to deal specifically with the landfill. And, if the select board amended its host-town agreement, this employee could be paid for by the landfill, she explained.

The select board expressed agreement with Douglass’ proposal and said they will also make sure that in the future they are copied on all of the landfill’s dealings with the ANR, as the agency’s decision whether or not the landfill will be allowed to remain open will greatly affect the town.