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June 8, 2006

Group Rallies Against Coeyman's Dump

By Tom Ellis, Board Co-Chair, Citizen's Environmental Coalition

During the last eleven years, CEC staff and board members have assisted residents of the town of Coeymans in their thus-far successful effort to block the siting of a large regional landfill in their town in southeast Albany County. The dump would be owned by the city of Albany, and take waste from Albany, Altamont, Berne, Bethlehem, Green Island, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland, Rensselaer, Rensselaerville, Westerlo, Watervliet, and elsewhere.

Among the reasons Coeymans residents oppose the project are concerns about noise, odors, truck traffic, visual impacts and reduction in property values. Further, a new dump might be open for many decades and enlarged several times, with waste arriving from a huge area, including possibly New York City. Additional concerns are the wide variety and large quantities of toxic materials that would end up in the dump, lost future economic growth, and difficult to extinguish dump fires. Dumps emit toxic gasses and aerosolized carcinogens, and almost certainly increase health problems for humans and animals that live nearby. The dump would pollute groundwater and nearby streams and leak poisons into the Hudson River.

As a result of Coeymans lawsuits, state courts have decreed that Albany must obtain a landfill permit from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) before it can purchase the landfill site, but the city has yet to submit an environmental impact statement (EIS) to DEC. It is well known that the chosen site is very wet; last year a consultant hired by Albany reported that the section of the property where the dump would be located contains more than 100 acres of wetlands.

Coeymans residents have formed Selkirk, Coeymans, Ravena Against Pollution, (SCRAP), petitioned DEC to map the targeted site as wetlands, put anti-dump signs throughout the town, are collecting signatures on a petition asking Albany to discontinue dump siting efforts immedi- ately, and are questioning Albany city politicians, all of whom are up for election this year.

CEC has assisted SCRAP by encouraging them to become more proactive in their efforts and activities, and convincing them that they are winning and victory may be imminent, especially if they can greatly increase public awareness about how unacceptable the site is. CEC field representatives canvassed the town in August and obtained signatures on the SCRAP petition.

Coeymans residents are also reminding Albany residents and politicians that Albany gets its high quality water from the Alcove Reservoir in Coeymans and that trying to site a dump is no way to say “Thank you.”

For more information or to get involved, call CEC in Albany or SCRAP at 518-756-2631.


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