Eastern North Carolina has been targeted by waste companies as the dumping ground for the rest of the country's trash; these dumps are usually megalandfills that import up to thousands of tons of trash a day into these relatively undeveloped areas that they target. The reason that eastern North Carolina is the target is that the state has a low impact fee on imported trash and the counties targeted are very poor (such as this post about attempts to place a megalandfill in Scotland county). In fact the two requirements a county seems to need to be a target are that it is poor and has an interstate to bring the trash in.
The megalandfills have many environmental consequences. Beyond the obvious concentration of waste in our state, the importation brings a lot of heavy trucks and their fumes into our state.
The General Assembly appears to be taking action on the issue. Three bills have been filed to place more restrictions on the landfill placement (Senate version and House version) and place a moratorium on new landfills until other solutions are possible. The bills generally place more notice and hearing requirements before the placement of a landfill and give the local governments more flexibility in deciding whether to allow or reject the application for a landfill.
While these are good reforms, there is still the overridding issue of whether the low impact fees and rural poverty that make our state a target. The fees would be easy to raise by the General Assembly; rural poverty may be more difficult to fix. If you are interested in this issue, use our take action page to let your local representatives know that you want to restrict the importation of trash to our state.