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Go ahead with fines

September 16, 2012
The Leader Herald

The last thing many people want to see is another fine, but people caught trespassing at part of the city of Johnstown's closed landfill deserve to pay a penalty.

Johnstown City Engineer Chandra Cotter recently said state and federal officials are concerned about public breaches of a section of the city's long-closed landfill.

Though the landfill, off West Fulton Street Extension in the town of Johnstown, was closed 27 years ago, officials are concerned about all-terrain vehicle riders trespassing on the fenced-off section of the city-owned property.

The city still has to maintain the property and submit reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Cotter said she met with representatives from the agencies to discuss recent incidents involving ATV riders getting onto that section of the property. Cotter said the section that is fenced contains the most hazardous waste, which has been capped under the ground. Of course, the EPA is concerned about a potential breach of the cap if ATV riders keep using the section.

Cotter said the city will post signs around the fence, she said, which will warn potential trespassers about the consequences of doing so.

The EPA has encouraged the city to start fining trespassers, Cotter said, which the city is looking into.

While it seems like there is a fine for everything these days, this is one instance where a fine would be justified. The fault doesn't lie with the city, but with the trespassers.

The area the EPA is concerned about is fenced. The ATV riders who trespass most likely know they are riding where they should not, but they don't seem to care.

The issue also raises liability concerns for the city if someone gets injured or is exposed to waste at the former landfill.

There are other places for people to enjoy riding their all-terrain vehicles.

It's appropriate those who don't obey the law are forced to clean up their act.



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