As word arrives that NJSEA appeal will be heard, mayors’ committee approves resolution supporting Kearny’s fight

It’s been an eventful last week in the Keegan Landfill saga.

A week ago, the Hackensack Meadowlands Municipal Committee of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution backing Kearny’s desire to keep the Keegan Landfill closed.

Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos says the committee was implemented as a “checks and balances” system for the former New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and now, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

The committee includes 14 mayors, including mayors of four Hudson County municipalities within the Meadowlands district: Kearny and Santos; Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop; Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli; and Hoboken Mayor Ravinder “Ravi” Bhalla.

In Bergen County, North Arlington Mayor Daniel H. Pronti and Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso are also on the committee. So, too, are the mayors of nearby Rutherford and East Rutherford, among a few others.

Santos says he hasn’t been attending the committee’s meetings of late because he felt it wasn’t supporting his displeasure with the NJSEA’s handling of the landfill and with Kearny getting its fair share of funding as a host community.

However, he says Gonnelli approached him recently with a proposition to proffer a resolution in support of Kearny’s fight against the NJSEA to keep the Keegan permanently closed. In return, Santos says he will again take part in the committee’s work — and attend its meetings — starting in 2020.

According to the resolution: “The HMMC’s statutory duties include Meadowlands master plan zoning and environmental public, health & safety recommendations within the district; and, the HMMC has reviewed and considered the facts and circumstances surrounding the Kearny, New Jersey landfill closure; and, (be it resolved) by the Hackensack Meadowlands Municipal Committee (“HMMC”) hereby supports the closure of the Kearny, New Jersey landfill current operations, based upon the public health, safety and welfare issues at hand.”

Meanwhile, Santos says he remains “optimistic,” despite an appellate court’s decision last week to hear the NJSEA’s appeal of Judge Jeff Jablonski’s decision to keep the Keegan closed permanently.

“The landfill will remain closed throughout the process,” Santos said. He also said he expects there won’t be a decision anytime next year —the earliest a decision might come is 2021. He noted the appellate division is overwhelmed with cases and it operates notoriously slow.

“I am still optimistic the landfill will remain closed,” Santos said.

He also says the Town of Kearny will continue with its other lawsuit, this one against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which seeks to order that state agency to move forward with a permanent, impermeable cap at the landfill.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.