He called new orleans a “chocolate” city and criticized New York for not being able to fix “a hole in the ground.” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin also has made waves in the world of waste by choosing not to renew an emergency order that authorized the Chef Menteur Landfill, which was established in April to handle debris from Hurricane Katrina. Despite a suit brought by Houston-based Waste Management, the landfill, which accepted construction and demolition debris, closed in August nearly one year after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast.
In its suit, Waste Management claimed that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did not have the authority to revoke the permit without cause. The company added that it was not informed of the temporary zoning status. A judge, however, denied Waste Management's request for an injunction.
In response to the ruling, the company issued a statement arguing that the closure would hinder cleanup of the city. DEQ also has said in a release, “This site is needed to clean up New Orleans in a timely, environmentally sound manner.” Waste Management now has filed an application for a conditional use permit, which must be approved by the City Council. The process could take several months and may end in a denial of the permit.
The controversy is nothing new for the landfill located near the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, which has attracted critics — including residents and environmental groups — since its inception. Despite claims of potential damage to neighbors and the environment, independent testing concluded that the landfill was not producing contamination hazardous to public health.