Environmentalists Lose Appeal Of Landfill Near Ancient Burial Site

June 23, 2009

Author: Jim Suhr

Source: Indian Country


An independent pollution-control agency has rejected environmentalists’ claims that a planned landfill could desecrate possible burial grounds near the ruins of a once-thriving prehistoric city.

The Illinois Sierra Club and American Bottom Conservancy failed to show that Madison’s approval process for a landfill near the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site was “fundamentally unfair,” the Illinois Pollution Control Board ruled.

The St. Louis suburb, which approved the landfill in February, would get roughly $1 million a year in fees from Houston-based Waste Management Inc., the nation’s largest garbage hauler.

Opponents said they were weighing whether to challenge the matter further.

“A municipality in search of revenue is going to choose revenue over any cultural or natural resources in the area. That’s what we see in so many of our cases,” said Bruce Morrison, an attorney with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, which pressed the lawsuit. “So here, the money from the trash won out over the wetlands and the Native American cultural and historic sites.”