Now that they've got the laws, where will they put the hazardous waste?
Quandry is a fictitious town in New England. It was invented by the New England Regional Commission for a three-day workshop of the siting of hazardous waste facilities.
"We had real local officials play the part of Quandry's officials. And we had representatives from industry playing the part of would-be hazardous waste facility operators. There were public meetings, even some shouting matches, but the sides were able to negotiate and agreement was reached," explains Peter Schneider of the commission.
The name, Quandry, was chosen for a reason. Because of the strength of local opposition, no new hazardous waste treatment facilities have been approved since the revelations of Love Canal, and a number of existing facilities have been closed.
If this continues, it many bring down with a resounding crash the elaborate new regulatory machinery being laboriously erected to manage hazardous wastes. This is one of the few issues on which government officials, environmentalists, and industry representatives agree.
"If problems with public opposition cannot be solved, the implications may be enormous," warned a 1979 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report.
The nation's new cradle-to-grave management program for hazardous wastes authorized by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), passed in 1976, will force a number of existing sites to close and will increase the demand for permitted sites. At the same time, attempts to clean up abandoned sites under the newly passed $1.6 billion "superfund" legislation will increase further the quantities of material to be properly disposed of.
"If public opposition continues to frustrate siting attempts, there may be no place to put all this hazardous waste, and the national effort to regulate hazardous waste may collapse," the EPA report continued.