True Facts Instead of Fun Facts

To the Editor:

In her August 18th LTE (titled “Fun Facts for Everyone”) in support of the proposed Dalton dump, Pam Kathan writes that “facts and good information matter”. I agree that is a good standard for a letter to the editor, so let’s test how her letter measures up against this standard.

She says: “One of the reporters covering the project is a known opponent that cannot look past his bias to provide good info…” Without naming names or providing any evidence of this reporter’s bias, this smacks of innuendo of the worst kind. If, as she says, facts matter, then she should provide the facts to back-up this claim in a follow-up letter. Otherwise, the inescapable conclusion is that it is her own bias coming through.

Will she please also clarify her statement that the dump footprint will be 137 acres, and …”it will not expand beyond the 137 acres”. This seems a lot more like her wishful thinking than a fact—the actual real-life fact is Casella will not commit that it will not expand the Dalton dump beyond 137 acres. In fact, the evidence suggests that it is Casella’s business model to promise its host communities a small footprint at first and then litigate to the hilt to ensure future expansions.

Her statement “their responsibility is to put as little in the ground as possible” makes no sense to me, and could use clarification. In fact, Casella has every incentive to put as much trash in the ground as possible so as to maximize revenue, which maximizes benefits to its shareholders. This is borne out by the recent Letter of Deficiency from NH DES that Casella exceeded the permitted limits at its Bethlehem dump.

Last, but not least, she cites the recent 150+ thousand gallon leachate spill at the Bethlehem dump as evidence that the combination of Casella’s technology and NH DES’ watchfulness will save the North Country from environmental disaster. If only. There’s a lot of good information on the spill she does not include: 1) it took Casella two days to discover the leak; 2) Casella did not test for PFAS because it was not required to under DES’ permit for the facility; 3) Casella commissioned an “audit” of the accident, but chose a firm with significant conflicts of interest; and 4) the one indisputable fact about landfills, based on science, and touted prominently by the US EPA, is that is at some point all landfill liners will leak.

For people who are actually interested in THE FACTS, I recommend the following websites: northcountryabc.net; and saveforestlake.com. These websites are filled with good information, including lots of evidence that: 1) Casella has a poor record of operating landfills and is unfit to operate another one in NH; 2) while NH DES is well-meaning, it is understaffed and underfunded; and 3) locating what would be New England’s largest landfill in an environmentally sensitive area, right next to a beloved NH state park, is a really dumb idea.

Eliot Wessler

Whitefield, N. H.

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(1) comment

Jon Swan

Well said! It should not be lost on readers that Pam Kathan is the daughter of Don Mooney, both of whom seem to have some kind of financial interest in the permitting of this landfill. It should also be noted that these 2, same tired old faces supporting the Casella project are just that, the same, tired old faces. Casella cannot find any kind of popular support for its dangerously-irresponsible project and has to rely on these 2 same, old, tired faces and the lobbyists they pay in Concord. Great letter, Mr. Wessler! [thumbup][thumbup]

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