ALBANY: On February 21, at the Polish Community Center on Washington
Avenue Extension in the Pine Bush, the NYS Department of
Environmental Conservation held a “scoping” hearing
on the proposed landfill expansion in the Pine Bush. Over
250 people attended; there was standing room only.
Scoping hearings are held to determine the what topics should
be covered in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Usually,
these hearings are pro forma, and not many people attend. Perhaps
it was because Save the Pine Bush volunteers distributed over
2000 flyers to neighborhood businesses and residents that so
many people attended. How else were people to find out about
the hearing, unless Save the Pine Bush volunteers publicized
In the City of Albany’s proposed Scoping document, which
lists the topics the City believes should be covered, the City
said, “Odor control has been an issue for residents in
the past . . .[emphasis added].” Save the Pine Bush volunteers
were astounded that the City said that odor control was a problem
in the past, but did not identify the smell as a current problem.
Obviously, the City did not talk to anyone living in the vicinity
of the landfill!
Most people attending the hearing wanted to express their
oppostion to the proposed expansion. Many people held signs
that simply said “No” (signs provided by Save the Pine Bush
Department of Environmenal Conservation Hearing officer William
Clarke kept a tight control on the hearing. Though he tried
to get people to put away their signs, many people held them
during the hearing.
Fifty people spoke at the scoping session. Only one person
spoke in favor of expanding the landfill, and everyone else
spoke against an expansion.
Many people spoke about the stench and how it affects the
quality of their life. Many people cannot enjoy their backyards
or sit on their porches. People need to keep their windows
shut in the summer time. Some people expressed concerns about
family health problems and wondered whether these problems
were caused by the landfill.
Save the Pine Bush volunteers sold t-shirts to attendees.
The deep, royal blue t-shirts with white lettering made an
excellent visual for the TV cameras.
Three weeks after the scoping hearing, Save the Pine Bush
called a meeting to discuss legal options availbable to residents
who live with the stink of the landfill. Mayor of the Village
of Colonie, Frank Leak, offered the Village of Colonie Family
Recreation Center for the meeting. Over 300 people attended
the meeting—there were not enough chairs for all.
Save the Pine Bush lawyer, Peter Henner, discussed legal
options available to residents. Residents who have been harmed
by the landfill can sue the City of Albany for damages. Harm
can range from be not enjoying the use of one’s home because of
the foul odor to people losing property value to suffering
from health effects caused by the stench of the landfill.
People who are interested in a lawsuit may contact their
own lawyer or contact Peter Henner by phone at 518/768-8232,
write to him at PO Box 326, Clarksville NY 12041 or email him
Lynne Jackson, volunteer for Save the Pine Bush said, “The
City of Albany cannot control odors from the landfill. People
cannot be expected to live with such a stink. It is our duty
as environmentalists to assist neighbors affected by the landfill
to learn about their legal rights and options to sue the City