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Reprinted in from the Times Union, 5/23/07

Albany places in dirty dozen

City’s decision to expand dump into preserve lands it on environmental group’s list of polluters

By BRIAN NEARING, Staff Writer

ALBANY - The city of Albany is among the state’s dozen worst polluters for its plans to expand the Rapp Road dump into the Pine Bush, according to a statewide environmental group’s annual listing released Tuesday.

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition also cited the General Electric Co. for alleged foot-dragging over the cleanup of the Dewey Loeffel dump in Nassau, Rensselaer County; and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, under former Gov. George Pataki, for underfunding maverick wildlife pathologist Ward Stone’s Delmar lab

The group also took aim at New Yorkers for Real Recycling Reform, a lobbying group formed by Food Industry Alliance, a trade group of food retailers. It had joined with soft drink makers and beer wholesalers to oppose the proposed expansion of the state’s bottle recycling law to include bottled water, sports drinks and other noncarbonated beverages.

Lynne Jackson, secretary for Save the Pine Bush, convinced the coalition to give Albany an award - it was a can made to look like an orange toxic barrel - over the proposed dump expansion.

“She is very much looking forward to awarding this to the mayor in person,” said coalition Executive Director Steve Breyman.

Robert Van Amburgh, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Jennings, said the city was unaware of the dubious honor, although Breyman said his group routinely contacts proposed recipients to see if issues can be negotiated.

“We’ll see what it is,” Van Amburgh said. The city, which could fill the dump by 2009, wants its fourth expansion into the Pine Bush.

It was the fourth year in a row that the Dewey Loeffel dump made the dirty dozen list, said Kelly Travers-Main, a member of UNCAGED, an East Schodack-based environmental group. The landfill contains about 46,000 pounds of PCBs, solvents and other toxic chemicals dumped by GE and others from 1952 to 1970, when it was closed by court order.

Chemicals leaking from the landfill have contaminated Nassau Lake, the Valatie Kill and Kinderhook Lake in Chatham and Kinderhook, Columbia County.

Since 2000, pollution has spread to residential wells southeast of the dump site along Nassau Road as an underground plume of leachate from the capped landfill continues to spread.

Other recipients of the coalition’s awards were the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for inadequate testing and cleanup of buildings near ground zero in Manhattan, as well as for the slow pace of the cleanup of Onondaga Lake near Syracuse; En tergy Nuclear Corp. for radioactive leaks at the Indian Point nuclear reactor; Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for inadequate cleanup of the Deutsche Bank building near ground zero; the New York City Sanitation Department for not adopting more reuse, recycling and composting programs; state Agriculture and Markets Department for pre-empting local regulations on factory farms; CWM Services for PCB leaks from a Niagara County landfill; and J.J. Lyons and Associates for an alleged failure to pay fines and clean a former defense contractor site in the Bronx.

Brian Nearing can be reached at 454-5094 or by e-mail at bnearing@timesunion.com.

 

 

This page last modified January 12, 2008
Contact Save the Pine Bush at pinebush@aol.com.