With the proposal of a transfer station, which is a receiving area where waste collection trucks unload, the Naval Air Station here in Meridian is raising concerns. The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors are now to look over all of this and decide. While the commanding officer of NAS Meridian says he has nothing against any business in the area, he also has concerns about one business proposal that would be placed within miles from the base.
“It’s difficult to make a good decision until all the facts are on the table. So, my whole point in these conversations is, I think we need to take our time to figure out how those proposals would impact birds in the airspace that the aviators fly in and then make a good decision based on the best information possible.” -Capt. Brian Horstman, Commanding Officer, NAS Meridian
With NAS sending out an average of 150 flights a day on their T-45 air crafts, large birds, such as vultures, that are attracted to waste sites can, and have, cost the base millions of dollars. There has been forty million dollars in vulture damage in the past ten years. Over 600 vultures feed at Pine Ridge Landfill, which is three miles south of the base.
“Clarke county’s got a transfer station, and they have very few issues with birds down there at theirs. We went down there and studied it and found very few birds. Birds don’t seem to be a very big concern at this point. I know some of the neighbors have concern over the smell and stuff, but this facility will have charcoal filters built into it, so they’ll go in and will clean it out when its going out. So, there will be no odor, there will be nothing left on it.” -Cooper Huff, VP of Sales, JWC Environmental
“Whether it’s a complete loss of an aircraft, which is obviously very expensive, or even minor damage that’s caused by hitting a bird on the wing or the canopy, it’s a major risk to the aviators. Make no mistake about it, the most important thing about it are those two lives inside the aerial vehicle.” -Capt. Horstman
JWC Environmental says this is simply a safe way to clean up Lauderdale county.
“It’s a fully enclosed, fully clean operational facility. What will happen is, all the garbage will be brought into here from Lauderdale County, and it will be put into 18-wheelers and be shipped to Butler, Alabama. So, what we’re trying to do is clean up the county and quit putting refuge garbage in the land here in Lauderdale County.”
The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors say this will be a long process and that decisions are to be made in meetings to come.