A moratorium on new landfills in North Carolina is set to expire a week from today. As residents anxiously wait, members of the state senate have been working overtime trying to agree on a bill that would tighten the rules for new landfills. Lawmakers have proposed tougher landfill legislation that would tax waste management companies for bringing waste to North Carolina, increase the penalties for solid waste violations and limit where they could build landfills. A final version of Senate bill 1492 would outline specific provisions regarding new landfills in North Carolina. Residents of Brunswick County want a final decision soon, as it could determine the ultimate fate of the Hugo Neu property in Navassa that's zoned for a landfill. In April Hugo Neu decided against building a controversial landfill on the property, but residents fear if the moratorium expires that could change. Landfill opponent Veronica Carter said, "Sims Hugo Neu pulled out voluntarily. There's absolutely nothing preventing them from deciding to come back, if a moratorium or bill is not in place to stop them." While Hugo Neu opponents call the proposed legislation a step in the right direction, they think the current version of the bill does not go far enough. "Right now, there's no provision that talks about fire. Of course, we've had some serious fires at landfills in North Carolina just within the last year. We would have liked to have seen something along that line." This legislation isn't just important to residents in Brunswick County. There are proposed landfills in Columbus County, and all across the state. If they were allowed to be built, North Carolina would become the 4th biggest waste importing state in the country. "The fight's not over. Once this becomes law, hopefully in its current version, that doesn't mean that the fight stops. It just means we now look at the current law, to see where we might need to tweak or amend it to get it stronger," Carter said. A Senate version of the landfill bill was approved today in the finance committee. It will then go to the Senate floor for a vote tomorrow. Sen. Julia Boseman said she feels confident the bill will pass. The House would then have to approve its own version. If that doesn't happen before the moratorium is lifted august first, it is unclear whether lawmakers will extended the moratorium.
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