Citizens Against Local Landfills continue the fight

Citizens Against Local Landfills is expressing deep concern about recent developments in Montgomery and Fulton counties regarding the hallmark waste disposal agreement that the counties put into place following the dissolution of Montgomery Otsego Schoharie Waste Management Authority, the former tri-county authority tasked with providing a solution to the named counties’ waste disposal needs. In an Aug. 20, letter to Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort, CALL urged Ossenfort and the Fulton County Board of Supervisors to renew negotiations and publicly release all correspondence written or received by each county regarding the disposition of Montgomery County’s waste and the problems that lead to Fulton County’s breach declaration last month.

CALL is very concerned that, without a long-term contract for waste disposal, Montgomery County might be considering a landfill of its very own. In 1998, MOSA eyed three sites within the county as potential landfill sites. The site of the Glen Canal View Business Park, as well as sites in Root and Charleston were the primary targets of MOSA’s landfill fever. The proposed landfill led to the formation of CALL, which worked in concert with groups from Charleston and Root to convince elected officials of the folly of the proposals. MOSA abandoned their efforts and Montgomery County penned the deal with Fulton County when MOSA dissolved in 2014.

CALL has been active recently in the now-abandoned effort by Lystek International to place a sewage sludge processing facility in the Glen Park. A CALL spokesperson noted that “the sewage sludge debate was a very difficult one, as proponents tried to rekindle old divisions between parts of the town to create confusion in the effort to site the plant. By contrast, the town was never so unified as when we were fighting the proposed MOSA landfill. Any attempt to try to site a landfill in the town in response to the nullification of the contract between Fulton and Montgomery counties will be met with solid and energetic resistance.”

The spokesperson continued, “Some may ask, ‘What’s wrong with a landfill for just our county?’ The plain truth is no developer wants to put in a landfill for the use of just 50,000 residents. Such a landfill will lose money. The only way to even meet costs is to import waste from other places and once you start importing, your appetite only grows.”

CALL Secretary Steve Helmin urged the counties to go back to the negotiating table. “The only way to ensure stability for individual, business, and municipal budgets is for the two counties to sit back down and renegotiate an agreement that both can live with. If they don’t feel they can put back what was already in place, then they owe the people an explanation and a window into how, exactly, it all fell apart.” He added, “CALL has been vigilant for nearly 20 years. CALL has shown that we are willing and able to organize to face new threats and we will do so again, if we have to.”