During a meeting held Tuesday, January 5th the Seneca Falls Town Board voted 3-2 asking the DEC to deny Seneca Meadows’ permit request to expand its landfill.
The vote, which fell along party lines, featured Democrats David DeLelys, Doug Avery, and Steve Churchill voting for the resolution, while Republicans Dawn Dyson and Supervisor Mike Ferrara voted against it. The permit request, which was reported last month, was submitted to the DEC over the summer. However, elected officials in Seneca Falls said they had only heard about it in the beginning of that month.
At this point, Seneca Meadows would be required to close by the end of 2025, at least according to Local Law #3 of 2016. While the law itself has been challenged, Supervisor Ferrara said that “many things can change between now and 2025,” according to the Finger Lakes Times. “As for the landfill, the people of Seneca Falls need to be informed about what impact the closure will have on the community. Mainly, we need to inform people of the financial impact of the closure.”
The Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee released a statement at the meeting, voicing opposition to the permit modification request. If approved, Seneca Meadows would fill the middle of its existing footprint along State Route 414.
“Not only would the 50 acre expansion allow Seneca Meadows to operate for an additional 15 years, but it would also allow 6,000 tons of garbage a day to continue until 2040.This proposed expansion is in direct violation of Local Law 3 of 2016 which prohibits solid waste facilities in Seneca Falls from operating beyond 2025,” SFEAC said. “Seneca Meadows is currently in violation of its Host Community Agreement and Seneca Falls Town Code. Seneca Meadows continues to pollute our air and compromise the health of our community. Despite its attempts to mitigate odors, landfill gas continues to pervade our community. In the last year, area homes, businesses, and schools have been negatively impacted by landfill gas and odors. If an expansion permit is granted, this will likely continue for years to come. We cannot let this happen.”
Meanwhile, officials with Seneca Meadows say that the expansion would be safe, and ultimately beneficial to the community-at-large.
“This application for the ‘The Valley Infill’ meets or exceeds all of the numerous, and very stringent, Federal and State environmental regulations,” SMI’s Kyle Black told FingerLakes1.com last month. “We look forward to partnering with NYSDEC to ensure we meet or exceed the expectations of all of our stakeholders. Continuing the landfill in this manner without increasing the footprint, and while minimizing the operational area, will allow SMI to continue essential operations in the most environmentally conscious and safest manner,” he added. “It will also allow us to continue supporting numerous charitable organizations, help fund first responders, local parks and libraries, and hold the line on local property taxes within the community, with more than $250,000 in annual donations and $4.5 million per year in host fees and taxes paid. This important step also enables us to remain one of the region’s largest employers, with our team of over 100 proud employees continuing to be a big part of what makes our area special.”
Supervisor Ferrara told the Finger Lakes Times that he’s ‘not convinced’ New York State will allow Seneca Meadows to close. “They have been operating without a town permit for 13 months, and the legal fees associated with this closure will bankrupt the town. No business would walk away without a legal challenge.”
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