Business Owners and EPA Duke It OutDoug Wilson and Ann PierceallQuincy Herald WhigThursday February 25, and Sunday February 28, 1999 This is a situation of in which dozens of Quincy area business people are concerned about a $3 million bill sent to them by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for clean-up costs of a former Quincy landfill. The EPA is seeking more than $3.1 million from 165 local firms that used the former Quincy landfill, which is on the federal Superfund cleanup list. The plan is to try and buy more some time for the local businesses, which were given just two weeks to decide whether or not to agree to the settlement offered to them by the EPA earlier this month. The landfill closed in 1978 and was put on the nation s Superfund cleanup list in 1984. The ridiculous aspect of this is these people are being held liable for stuff being dumped prior to 1978 and (the EPA is) only going to give people two weeks notice to decide whether or not to take the settlement, U.S. Representative John Shimkus said. The big concern here is the fact that people are being penalized for nothing they have done. Due to the fact that when the companies in question where using the landfill, nothing was done illegally. This article is not a case of overpayment or underpayment, but more a case of right or wrong. The fact that 165 community businesses are being held liable for part of the cleanup costs for something that was not illegal at the time when it occurred. Also, this is going to place undue financial stress for many businesses. For example, The amount being asked for in this settlement would be about one-third of the net income for my small company for a year. I guess the only way to pay it would be to lay off people or close down,” said one man who declined to give his name. The area business inputs into the situation I guess would be their concerns for payment of this bill. The outcome is still needed to be determined. The outcome I would say is the difference between what they are being billed as opposed to what they not have to pay pending various lawsuits and meetings with the EPA.
The inputs for the EPA (referents) could be their effort forth with the Superfund effort. This has a great expense involved with the cleanup. They are not asking for the companies to pay for the whole amount but to help with part of the cost. Now I would say that the overall outcome would be the fact that they are trying to cleanup the environment. Although, I would say that the smaller outcome is also pending on whether or not they have to reduce their bills issued to the businesses or if they can still receive the same payment. They have contacted several Illinois delegates, including U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, Rep. Lane Evans and Sen. Dick Durbin. Many businesses have contacted lawyers to see about what legal action can be taken. They have also banded together as a community and have set up meetings with the EPA. This situation is in the early stages of its development and no real details have been reported as to what legal means for equity is available. In fact they are in the process of pursuing legal means. They EPA has agreed to meet with the area business leaders to see what can be arranged for equity. Not every business is in the same boat here, many businesses are not owned by the same people, but are still being held liable for the bill. I feel that there will be some form of equity restored. I would think that ex post facto laws would come into effect here. I the companies only used the landfill when it was legal to dump their waste in the landfill and not after the time it became illegal, I don t see how the EPA can mandate these bills to those companies and expect them to be paid. However, if the companies dumped toxic materials or waste that is bad on the environment should feel a moral obligation to help fund the cleanup of the landfill.