Just as the Orange County commissioners prepared to open their new search for a site for a solid waste transfer station last week, they received word that a formal civil rights complaint concerning the transfer station had been filed with the Environmental Protection Agency.Due to the time lag since the complaint was initially filed, there was a bit of a disconnect to the announcement. Residents who live near the Orange County landfill filed the complaint last summer after the commissioners announced that they had decided to put the transfer station on Eubanks Road, where the landfill is. The commissioners, partly in response to heavy public opposition to the Eubanks Road site, subsequently backed off that decision and chose to re-open the search for another site. So in some ways the complaint was directed at a decision that has since been un-decided, although not definitively reversed. The commissioners haven't publicly ruled out Eubanks Road as a site; they've just decided to look everywhere else, as well, before they make the decision. They've contracted with a consulting firm that specializes in waste facilities and environmental issues to help conduct the search.The commissioners and representatives from the consulting firm last week began discussing the criteria to be used in evaluating possible sites. The consultants said they were aware of the history behind the county's solid waste situation, but said they didn't want to let that influence them. They want to design a search process, they said, that "isn't prejudiced by previous decisions."If all else were equal, then that would make sense -- weigh all possible sites under the same set of criteria and recommend whichever one scores highest.But in this case, all else is not equal. In this case, "previous decisions" have to be taken into consideration. Those previous decisions put the burden of living next to the landfill -- the stench, the noise, the contaminated groundwater and more -- on one low-income, mostly black neighborhood. Those previous decisions, and that burden, are precisely why the commissioners voted to re-open the search in the first place. Having re-opened the search because of those previous decisions, the county can hardly now instruct its consultants to ignore them. The residents of the Rogers Road neighborhood have paid their dues and then some. For more than 35 years they've been living with the garbage the rest of us produce. If somebody has to live beside the next generation of solid waste facilities, let it be somebody else.And if, as some have said, a solid waste transfer station -- where the trash is loaded onto trucks to be hauled away to some far-off landfill -- is much less intrusive than a landfill itself, then it should be that much easier to find some other place to put it.