The state Department of Environmental Protection‘s “environmental assessment” of the proposed 40-plus-year expansion of Keystone Sanitary Landfill is a classic example of The Big Picture being blurred by excessive focus.

In a letter released Monday, the department reported that the alleged benefits of piling a mountain of out-of-state garbage in the heart of the region somehow outweigh the obvious harms of piling a mountain of out-of-state garbage in the heart of the region. The letter enumerates these alleged benefits and pays lip service to the obvious harms, which you can read about in Times-Tribune Staff Writer Jeff Horvath‘s story here.

While the assessment presents a detailed review of the proposed expansion and its concrete and potential impacts, it obscures at least two basic questions that ring above all others:

Will the region and all of its people benefit from piling a mountain of out-of-state garbage at its heart?

Can any region with a mountain of out-of-state garbage at its heart reasonably expect to attract businesses and families to move in and build lives there?

The answer to both questions is obvious. Right?