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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Responding to Jeff Weld Commentary | Peggy Stevens, Charleston

In an attempt to divert attention from the conditions that resulted in serious injury to one of the truck drivers and the spill of thousands of gallons of toxic landfill leachate, diesel fuel and other noxious fluids, Casella spokesman Jeff Weld casts blame not only on those who raised concerns about the spill, but on the truck drivers, victims who were merely following direction from their superiors.

Because there is no good defense for sending innocent truckers carrying hazardous materials out into the night in black ice conditions, Weld attacks those who raise legitimate questions and worse, he blames the victims of the accident!

While he claims misleadingly that questioners showed no concern for the accident victim or the other driver, who also lost control due to hazardous road conditions, he states, “A man nearly died at the hands of his coworker.”

Really? His coworker was a victim of unsafe conditions and circumstances as well.

How dare Weld suggest that liability rests with the second driver? It is only right to wonder why MBI or Casella would require their drivers to risk physical and emotional trauma by traveling on unsafe roads, or why they would seek to pass blame for the accident on to the truckers.

Weld charges that questions raised about why the trucks were transporting leachate at 3 A.M. in black ice conditions are “fear-based” when they are fact-based.

The cargo of the second truck included upwards of 8,000 gallons of toxic and hazardous landfill leachate, a load of diesel fuel and related fluids.

A spill of this magnitude poses real threat to the environment and its inhabitants.

The extent of the days-long cleanup effort to retrieve spilled leachate and remove tons of contaminated soil underscore the concern.

Weld also suggests that transporting leachate in the middle of the night is a best practice, designed to safeguard the public.

However, when transport trucks are on the road before road crews have managed to make roads sufficiently safe, and when the HazMat emergency response teams are not as immediately available- as they would be during regular business hours- to respond to an accident involving thousands of gallons of hazardous material, is this really “best” practice?

In fact, transport tucks such as these travel at all hours, including in the day, which lays waste, no pun intended, to Weld’s pretense about public safety. The State DEC must require landfill management regulations that would allow for the ultimate protection of the public safety and of the environment.

Wishing all the best to the accident victims and their families,

Peggy Stevens
Charleston, Vermont

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  1. Well said, Peggy Stevens! Prayers for both drivers, a speedy recovery, and hoping MBI and Casella do not throw them under the bus…VT needs to re-think its policy of allowing MBI to operate without limitation relative to hours of operation out of the truck depot they have at Coventry. Poor decision making, poor weather conditions, toxic waste, a recipe for disaster. While not a common, every day incident, thank goodness, you only need one disaster to destroy an ecosystem for decades or more. This was a close one. Time to tighten up oversight relative to this operation so as to prevent the next one. We certainly do not want to expose our beautiful Forest Lake to this kind of threat potential in Dalton, NH. Please join us on FB at Save Forest Lake so we can work together to protect our environment. It’s the only one we have, and future generations will thank us.


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