Right before Thanksgiving, Seneca Lake Guardian, a community grassroots environmental organization, got a cease and desist letter from a law firm representing Seneca Meadows Landfill. The group has vehemently opposed the Landfill’s request to extend its closing date from 2025 to 2040.
“It’s very intimidating,” Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian Yvonne Taylor said. “The packet they sent was two-inches thick. You get something like this in the mail and your heart sinks. You feel like all of the efforts that you’ve put in to educating and informing the public about the harmful impacts of basically any landfill is being squelched.”
The first thing Taylor did, she said, was call her lawyer.
“We are within our rights to speak out publicly about this proposal to expand, and nothing that we are saying publicly is a lie,” Taylor added. “It’s mostly based on reports from the industry itself or the Department of Environmental Conservation and we are just simply exercising our First Amendment rights to speak out.”
After talking it over with friends and family, Taylor said, they decided not to back down.
“Seneca Lake Guardian will not be bullied into silence,” she added. “We are going to continue to speak out publicly as is our right.”
Seneca Meadows Landfill responds calling claims by SLG ‘baseless’
In a statement to FingerLakes1.com, Seneca Meadows Landfill District Manager Kyle Black said the following:
“Seneca Meadows is proud to be part of the Central New York Finger Lakes, Seneca Falls and Waterloo communities and has always been fully transparent about its facility and actions.
As an organization we have routinely sought to correct the baseless claims and fearmongering regarding the Seneca Meadows Landfill by a small group of vocal opponents and have taken the added step of making the true facts readily available at https://senecameadows.com/facts/. We have tried to engage in a dialogue on the issue as we believe it is a vital part of the decision- making process and strongly value the community’s input. However, we believe that groups are not entitled to their own facts and therefore decided to provide a detailed accounting and rebuttal of Seneca Lake Guardian’s false claims.
Seneca Meadows respects Seneca Lake Guardian’s right to oppose the Landfill. The recent letter sent to the organization acknowledges this, but documents in detail numerous defamatory, false, and misleading statements Seneca Lake Guardian has repeatedly published about Seneca Meadows. Unfortunately, the organization’s most recent statement confirms Seneca Lake Guardian would rather resort to name-calling and illustrates how they have no intention of retracting their baseless statements, including but not limited to:
- Seneca Lake Guardian’s website continues to falsely state that Seneca Meadows “is in violation of” the Seneca Falls town code, its Host Agreement and NYSDEC Part 211.1 regulations. These statements are false.
- Seneca Lake Guardian asserts that the documentation provided with Seneca Meadows’ letter does not support its claim that it is not a source of “noxious odors”, and continues to falsely state that odors from the Landfill can be smelled “miles away.” Seneca Lake Guardian’s response conveniently ignores the fact that Seneca Meadows’ letter provided nearly four months of information on data collected at four perimeter monitors at the Seneca Meadows Landfill where hydrogen sulfide levels (the primary source of odors at landfills) have been nearly always recorded as non-detect, with only a few recorded levels all well below the NYSDEC standard.
- Seneca Lake Guardian continues to falsely state that Seneca Meadows is hurting local agritourism despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary included in Seneca Meadows’ letter, including multiple governmental reports and assessments showing that Seneca County’s tourism and agritourism industry is thriving and outperforming many areas in the region and state, and that Seneca Meadows is not one of the specifically identified challenges faced by the local industry. These are just a few examples to illustrate that Seneca Lake Guardian is not interested in legitimate discussion or debate. Seneca Meadows welcomes a civil and factual discussion of the benefits of the landfill, as we believe it is a necessary, critical infrastructure site for waste management in the state of New York.”
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].