For nearly two years, it's been taken for granted, by the city and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, that BFI would be required to shut down its landfill in Southwest Little Rock in May. BFI was granted a minor modification to expand the landfill in 2007, and planned at the time to extend the life of the landfill only 17.9 months — which exempted its request for the modification from a public hearing.
Now, BFI argues that under ADEQ regulations, it can operate the landfill until it's full — or until its original permit expires in 2013 — and an administrative hearing officer for the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission ruled March 8 that BFI is right.
Teresa Marks, director of the ADEQ, and City Attorney Tom Carpenter told the Southwest Little Rock United for Progress group about the situation Monday night. ADEQ will argue at the PC&E's monthly meeting April 23 that the hearing officer was wrong, and that BFI's permit expires in May.
“We are ready for [the landfill] to be shut down,” Carpenter said. Carpenter added that had BFI wanted to keep the landfill open longer than 18 months, it would have had to have a public hearing and might have lost.
“They welched on their agreement,” Mayor Mark Stodola said. “It's a noxious intrusion into the neighborhoods.”
The city was on the losing side of a legal fight to keep BFI from taking drilling waste after neighbors complained about the smell emanating from the landfill.
An Arts Journal writer reports that the chief operating officer of the High Museum in Atlanta is in talks with Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art about a collection-sharing arrangement. The High's collection of 900 works of art from 19th and 20th century America includes works by William Merritt Chase, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keeffe and John Singer Sargeant.
Walton has sought other collection-sharing deals, most publicly with Fisk University in Nashville. Crystal Bridges has offered Fisk $30 million for a half ownership in its Stieglitz Collection, and Fisk recently filed a motion in a Tennessee chancery court asking that it be allowed to deviate from donor Georgia O'Keeffe's instructions that the Stieglitz Collection not be sold so it can take advantage of the offer.
Will the Walton reward the High Museum with millions to bring more art to Bentonville? A call to the High was not returned by press time.