January 16, 2008

Cahokia mound vs. garbage mound

Sacred Garbage?

Native Americans trash plans to expand a sprawling Illinois landfill.Having recently topped 170 feet in height and dwarfing the largest of the neighboring Cahokia Mounds, the current fill is expected to reach capacity in five years. If approved, the expansion will occupy an additional 119 acres northeast of Milam and accommodate St. Louis' daily glut of 3,000 tons of trash for the next 25 years.

But Andria and others say expanding the landfill is bad public policy because it will reside in the middle of a floodplain adjacent to Horseshoe Lake State Park. The dump's proximity to the mounds and the fact that archaeologists unearthed ancient Indian remains in this place two years ago are sore spots for environmental activists.

"I realize we need landfills," says Andria, "but they should be suitably sited. I think there are many areas that are not adjacent to a state park and next to the most culturally significant site in the state that's sacred ground for Indians. And it certainly should not be in a floodplain, for God's sake."

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