Cloquet Council denies request to extend landfill hours

Additional hours would accommodate trucks carrying Verso Corp. paper waste.

A bulldozer spreads waste in a landfill cell at Cloquet’s SKB Environmental industrial landfill, located between Interstate 35 and Hilltop Park, in 2017. (File / Pine Journal)

In a split vote, the Cloquet City Council denied a request to extend the hours of the Shamrock Environmental Landfill.

The request would have allowed the industrial landfill — owned by SKB Environmental in St. Paul — to bring up to six truckloads of residual paper waste from the Verso Corp. paper mill in Duluth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The landfill’s current hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

The change wouldn't have allowed any use of heavy equipment during the 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. time period or on Sundays.

During the council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17, Ward 1 Councilor Warren “Bun” Carlson — who represents the area near the landfill on state Highway 45 — objected. During his campaign in 2018, residents were adamant landfill hours not be extended, he said.

At-Large Councilor Lara Wilkinson agreed.


“I also was door-knocking throughout that ward and it was one of the No. 1 issues that was raised,” she said.

SKB representative Kyle Backstrom said there was little chance the material from Verso would escape landfill and become a danger to residents. SKB trucks are still visiting during the overnight hours, he said.

“Currently, our trucks are going to our facility and they are still backing up and dropping a trailer and picking up an empty and we are leaving,” Backstrom said. “So, from a noise perspective, the activity is still happening. It’s just the exception of dumping of the material — that’s all. We’re still in there and we’re storing the material at our site.”

The pair were joined by Ward 2 Councilor Sheila Lamb and Ward 4 Councilor Kerry Kolodge in voting to deny the extended hours.

Mayor Roger Maki, Ward 3 Councilor Chris Swanson and Ward 5 Councilor Steve Langley voted to approve the change.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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