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Northampton County Council opposes landfill expansion

At the March 2 Northampton County Council meeting, council voted to oppose the Bethlehem Landfill’s phase 5 expansion.

Steel City resident Russell Sutton was among many people to address council in opposition of the landfill’s expansion. Sutton spoke of particulate matter and other contamination he and his neighbors breathe in.

The Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners echoed these sentiments and added the proposed expansion would increase noise pollution and noxious odors, decreasing the quality of life for many residents. These effects may also negatively impact the surrounding ecosystem.

The Bethlehem Landfill, 2335 Applebutter Road, is proposing 117.4 acres of lateral expansion and 26.74 acres “atop a previously permitted lined disposal area.”

Conditional use hearings for the landfill expansion began Feb. 27. The hearing was expected to continue March 9 in the Lower Saucon Township building.

During the hearing, representatives from Easton, Bethlehem Township, Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and more were in attendance seeking party status.

Party status would give the county the ability to participate in the hearing, the opportunity to request conditions be placed on the plan and protect the country’s assets, as well as the assets of the municipalities they support.

One resident urged the county to seek party status, saying, “This is not a political issue. This is a county issue. This is a ‘we the people’ issue. This is a let’s save our Lehigh Valley issue.”

Council voted unanimously to intervene in the conditional use hearing and allow county Executive Lamont McClure to seek party status.

In other business, county council also approved an operational study for Gracedale nursing home and a wage and benefit study for county employees.