Residents opposed to Axtell landfill appeal to fair-goers

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A group against a potential landfill near Axtell is trying to wrangle support at the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo in Waco, the city that’s trying to get the dump built.

(Photo by Montana Brazil)

In a unique way to build opposition, residents against the Axtell landfill have purchased a booth in the exhibits hall to appeal to fair-goers.

“We’re trying to help people support our protest against the landfill that Waco’s trying to put in Axtell,” said Axtell resident Tom Guest. “We want people to know what the City of Waco is doing because if they can do it to us, then what's to say that they can't do it to someone else in the county?”

Guest, who was running the booth Wednesday afternoon, said their group feels there’s been a lack of transparency and their concerns have been falling on deaf ears, thus far.

"I’m not saying we’re going to win, I’m not saying we’re going to lose, but I’m saying if you’re going to have transparency, then you’re going to listen,” said Guest. “You may not agree with what we're saying, we may not agree with what you're saying, but there's going to be dialogue and then after the dialogue the decisions can be made, but the way this was set-up, the decision was (already) made.”

The City of Waco’s desire to build a landfill off T.K. Parkway near Axtell became public in July when, despite large opposition from the Axtell community, council members voted in favor of the first of two land purchases, and subsequent permit applications, to start the process.

“We’ve got bald eagles, we’ve got wildcats, we’ve got deer, we’ve got Indian artifacts, plus, one of the main reasons is it’s on the watershed for creeks, one which dumps into the Brazos River, so you have the ability for contamination,” said Guest. “Plus, would you want approximately 400 trucks per day coming past your property?”

Guest says the group’s short-term goal is to get people to write letters to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality asking the agency to deny the landfill permit the city applied for in September.

“As landowners they can sort of do what they want to, but they can’t get a landfill without the permission of TCEQ,” said Guest.

Mayor Kyle Deaveer has said there’s only about five years left on the city’s current landfill on Old McGregor Rd. off Hwy 84, and without a new site, the city could see a dramatic increase in disposal costs over time.

So far, the city has spent $5 million purchasing more than 1,200 acres of land in McLennan, Hill, and Limestone counties for the project.