KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A private landfill is at the center of controversy in Osceola County.
County commissioners have approved a deal to allow 325,000 tons of coal ash from Puerto Rico to be dumped on the JED disposal facility, southeast of St. Cloud. Citizens say they were left out of the conversation. Now, U.S. Representative Darren Soto is asking the county to reverse the decision.
"Everything I’m reading says it has toxins in it. Now, the commissioners are saying it's non-hazardous, the mixed messages," said Loret Thatcher, a concerned citizen.
Thatcher lives nearby and is concerned about safety. She wants to hear the facts from the experts but says citizens were never included in the discussion.
"It was done last minute, I felt like they snuck it in on the agenda and that's what I don't understand,” said Thatcher.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection confirms the landfill meets safety standards.
"A lot of people are posting, 'this board doesn't care about this community by allowing this to come in.’ We know that's not true. We would never allow something to come in we thought would harm our citizens," said Fred Hawkins Jr., Osceola County Commissioner, District 6.
At a meeting, Hawkins declared that the ash is not hazardous.
"Nothing toxic or hazardous can go into this landfill," said Hawkins.
The deal states Osceola County will make $2 off every ton of ash, which could amount to $650,000 if the maximum amount is brought in.
Congressman Soto has requested a federal review of the deal. A Commissioner will now be available Monday to answer questions from the media.