Warren County: Legal Response
When the EPA approved the landfill permit application, Warren County filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the purchase of the land and construction of the landfill. The courts temporarily prevented construction, but allowed the state to purchase the land. In 1981, the courts ruled against the county and said that the design for the site was safe and the process for site selection was sound.
In 1982, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed suit in district court, saying the site was not safe because the Warren County land failed to meet several EPA regulations and other sites were likely more suitable for the landfill. The NAACP suit alleged that Afton’s poor, rural, and mostly Black residency was a driving force in the state’s siting decision. The lawsuit was denied a month later because previous cases did not cite race as a factor. However, a 1983 report from the General Accounting Office showed that race and low income appeared to be associated with hazardous waste siting.