It's no mystery why, every few years, Albany Mayor
Jerry Jennings keeps wanting to expand the capacity of the Rapp
Road landfill. The city continues to reap a bonanza there—more than
$13 million a year— by selling space to neighboring
towns and private haulers. But the specter of layoffs and
a large tax hike if the state Department of Environmental
Conservation denies yet another expansion hardly justifies
approving one. This folly has gone on long enough.
Permission for the last expansion—the landfill's third,
in 2000—was predicated on the city giving two parcels
of land totaling 60 acres to the environmentally sensitive
Pine Bush Preserve. However, that was never done, and now
Jennings wants to use 20 of the acres to expand the landfill.
Doing so would extend its life another five years past 2010,
when it is currently expected to reach capacity.
Jennings acts as if the city has no choice. It
can't live without the money, which constitutes roughly 10 percent
of its total revenue, unless it hikes taxes dramatically, lays
offworkers, or both. And it hasn't had much luck developing
an alternative site for a landfill. While it has options
on a 360-acre parcel in Coeymans, the town so far has managed
to block the city's effort to purchase the land. The city
was even ordered in court to stop making payments on the options—but
apparently did so, anyway— until it completes an environmental
impact study. It has yet to do this.
The state should stop colluding with the city and
force it to live up to its obligations —dedicating the
land it promised to the Pine Bush and getting the EIS done on
the Coeymans site. If it means having to take in less trash,
and money, at Rapp Road, then so be it.
Its disingenuous of the mayor to act as if this problem hasn't
been around for years, and that his own policies aren't what