URBANA — Champaign County Board members Thursday agreed to spend up to $14,000 in county funds in a potential intergovernmental fight to keep PCBs out of a landfill in Clinton.
The vote was 21-3, with the no votes coming from Republicans Diane Michaels and Stan James and Democrat Pattsi Petrie. Board Chair C. Pius Weibel abstained and rural Republican Steve Moser was absent.
The board opted to join the city of Champaign and other area local governments in a possible fight with the federal EPA over allowing the hazardous chemicals to be discarded at the landfill. It sits over the Mahomet aquifer which provides drinking water for about 650,000 central Illinois residents, including Champaign and Urbana.
"We need to take a stand on something that is so important," Champaign Democrat Alan Kurtz told his Democratic colleagues before the full board meeting. "I have seen this thing up close and it scares me."
EPA officials have said they believe the safeguards built into the landfill are sufficient to guarantee the safety of the aquifer.
Also Thursday, the board approved a contract with the Urbana engineering firm of Berns Clancy & Associates to provide engineering services for a stormwater management project on county land near the Brookens center in east Urbana. The board also approved a $134,798 contract with C.V. Lloyde of Champaign to provide a new sound and video arraignment system for courtrooms at the county courthouse.
Urbana Democrat James Quisenberry said he reviewed the planned improvements and believes they can be used if judges in the judicial circuit decide to permit cameras in courtrooms.
"In the courtroom for the audio that comes back to the courtroom for the assistive listening system, there are multiple places where the media could plug in and get the audio if a trial was to be broadcast by radio or by TV," he said. "I believe we can proceed with this project and not worry about whether we have to do something additional should our local judges decide to allow radio or TV coverage."