New Orleans to close controversial storm debris landfill

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announced Thursday that he would allow an order authorizing the Chef Menteur Landfill to expire on Aug. 14, effectively closing the site. According to an Associated Press report, the landfill has been the subject of protests from environmental groups and a nearby Vietnamese community since it was put into service last year as a dumping ground for the storm and flood debris created by Hurricane Katrina. Though tests conducted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality revealed no immediate threats to air or water quality, opponents say they are concerned about the site’s long-term toxicity.