Indiana residents oppose development of waste facility

Jun 20, 2018

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Residents in northwest Indiana are urging officials to block a proposed $50 million waste processing and recycling facility.

Environmentalists and residents asked the Little Calumet River Basin Commission last week to not renew a 2016 licensing agreement with Maya Energy, The Times reported . The company failed to build the facility in Chicago Heights, Illinois.

Gary residents expressed concerns about how the facility planned in the city would change the river's water quality.

Maya Energy said it would process up to 2,400 tons of waste at the 165,000-square-foot (15328-square-meter) facility and employ more than 100 people.

The Steel City Academy charter school would be located next to the proposed facility. Students would be negatively impacted by the building, said Katie Kirley, the school's principal.

"This will have massive implications for our school," Kirley said. "Students, parents and community leaders do not want you to extend this lease to Maya."

Brandon Dothager lives in Highland, which is three miles upriver from the project. He said the commission is designed to protect the floodplain and shouldn't let a company come to the river to import trash from Chicago.

"It's not servicing a local need," Dothager said. "You can cancel the lease. Ultimately you have power over the land."

The company could only build under the agreement if it gets a permit from the state Department of Environmental Management, said Dan Repay, executive director of the commission.

The commission may take action on the agreement next month.