Marlboro in fierce fight against landfill
April 1, 2012Sunday, Apr 1, 2012
By SAMMY FRETWELL
Jars of pickled vegetables and canned goods arrived at lawyer Amy Armstrong’s office one day last summer.
She later found a used Volkswagen parked in the driveway of her nonprofit legal practice.
The modest gifts came from a group of Marlboro County citizens with little money but a big desire to keep a mega-garbage dump out of their community. It was their way of saying thanks for helping them fight the landfill.
“These are just salt-of-the-earth people,” Armstrong said. “This was touching, to say the least.”
For five years, the small group of residents has waged a war against MRR Southern, a Raleigh company interested in building a landfill on the South Carolina-North Carolina border near Wallace.
Folks have passed the collection plate at community gatherings, digging into their own modest earnings to raise money for the fight. They’ve been kicked out of local government meetings for raising a ruckus. They’ve drawn suspicious stares from security guards for waving anti-landfill signs on the State House steps in Columbia.
And for two years, they have lived under the cloud of a libel lawsuit, filed by MRR Southern. The company sued the residents’ community group for making what it said were malicious, false and defamatory statements.
To the group’s relief, a judge threw the libel case out of court last week — but they realize more battles must be won if they are to stop the landfill. Many of those fights are in courtrooms. While the residents aren’t directly involved in those cases, they’ve followed them closely and faithfully attended hearings to lend support to Marlboro County Council’s effort to block the garbage dump.
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