Project Site Description
Preliminary Paper Title:
How one Town fought for what they want: The Closing of the Keegan Landfill
My name is Angel Harewood and I am history major at Rutgers-Newark. History has always been something that I have had a deep interest in, I like learning about different things that have happened, and how things in the past connect to things in the future. It is always something that I have been interested in. I chose the Keegan Landfill out of the many landfills in New Jersey, because I have always been interest in where our trash goes and how our cities disposed of it. With the Keegan Landfill I wanted to see how residents in this community fought against the different barriers and injustices to get it shut down because of the harm it was doing to their population.
Keegan Landfill is in Kearny, New Jersey, and owned and operated by New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority. This is one of the last remaining landfills that is being operated in the Meadowlands District. This landfill was used for construction sites to dump their waste when they were doing different construction projects. This site is up against the Meadowland’s wetland and close to residents’ home in Kearny. The first time that residents started complaining about the smell that was coming from the dump in back in 2005, and they were ordered to investigate and see what was causing the order. When it was found out that the odor was coming from the debris specifically the Sheetrock breaking down, they were order by the courts to close and cap the dump, but the NJSEA told town officials that there was not enough waste to put clean soil on it and cap and they ask for a 5 year extension, which was granted. While they had this extension, they continue to dump waste their making the smell more toxic and harmful to the residents of the community. During this time the residents of Kearny had enough, and they took the fight again to the courts with the help of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club to get the Landfill shut down for good. In mid-2019 they won the case for the landfill to be closed and cap. Which the west half to be done in 2020 and the east half done in October in 2021.
Was the need to keep this landfill open because it was the last one in this area?
With the capping of the landfill, does it undo the harm that was already done to the people in the community that suffered from it?
If the residents of Kearny did not have the powerhouse of the Sierra Club behind, would it have gone any farther then people complaining about the smell, and not realizing the harm it was causing?
This site is important, and attention needs to be brought to it, because it is one of many injustices that is happening in New Jersey. It is happening in a town that the population is the one that took the fight to the top and made them stand up for the harm that they are causing. While there are so many things that we need to change about the harm that we are causing our Planet this one is one that is near the Meadowlands and it this landfill is the last one of its kind to be closed and it was a fight, even though there was evidence of the harm that it was causing the people of the community. This story is about a community that was not discourage about standing up to power and making sure they were heard, and the outcome was that they won, and the landfill is not only going to be capped and filled in. They will also be getting a place where their kids can play sports and have fresh air to breathe while they are doing it.
Keyword tags: toxic, air. pollution, soil, water