Search Results for: Tom Ellis

DEC Hearing on Proposed Expansion of the Rapp Road Landfill

Scoping Session and Public Comment for Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Wednesday February 21, 2007 at 7:00 pm Location: Polish Community Center 255 Washington Avenue Extension located at the corner of Rapp Road and Washington Avenue Extension in the City of Albany This hearing is the only opportunity for the public to comment in person about issues that we think need to be addressed in the environmental impact statement for the proposed landfill expansion. The Mayor of the City of Albany…

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Save the Pine Bush Public Meeting Citizens can take legal action against the City of Albany over the landfill

Wednesday March 14, 2007 at 7:00 pm Village of Colonie Family Recreation Center 2 Thunder Road, Albany From Albany, go West on Central Avenue. Six blocks (1/10 of a mile) past Wolf Road, turn right onto Locust Park. Turn right onto Thunder Road and go to the Village of Colonie Family Recreation Center Get Directions from Mapquest Sick of the stench of the landfill? Tired of complaining? Tired of the deaf ear the City of Albany turns to complaints? Tired…

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Ward Stone was employed by the state but he worked for the people, animals, and environment

Published in the Altamont Enterprise, 3/2/23 To the Editor: I greatly appreciate your full-page commentary in the Feb. 16 issue about Ward Stone [“From the editor: A scientist who strove to make a healthier Earth”]. I knew Ward for 40 years. Ward was a rare public servant: competent, articulate, hardworking, fearless. He insisted he had a right and duty to inform and warn the public about environmental health threats. He was employed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation but…

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Ward Stone — NYS Wildlife Pathologist Worked for the People

Editor’s Note: Ward Stone died on February 8, 2023 at the age of 84. Ward Stone was a friend of Save the Pine Bush and often spoke at SPB vegetarian lasagna dinners. Here are two letters which describe Ward. The first letter was written by long-time friend, Lewis Oliver and sent to many media outlets, but, never published. The second letter from Tom Ellis was published in the Altamont Enterprise. Dear Mr. Seiler: The front-page article about the death of…

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Efforts to Close the Dunn Dump Continue: All Trucks Enroute to the Dump Violate Traffic Laws

by Tom Ellis RENSSELAER, NY: Efforts to close the Waste Connections Dunn construction and demolition debris landfill in Rensselaer continue despite little news coverage of the ongoing public health crisis. The dump is located on a hilltop at the end of Partition Street, borders the Rensselaer public school campus, a cemetery, and in between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods. Interstate 90 passes in front of the school campus; thus the campus, athletic fields, students, staff, and visitors are bombarded from…

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Amanda Dillon: Science in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Amanda Dillon, field ecologist and entomologist for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (Commission), was the speaker at the November 16 Save the Pine Bush virtual meeting. She discussed “Science in the Albany PIne Bush Preserve.” Amanda Dillon earned both a BS in Natural History and Interpretation in 2007 and a MS in Environmental Forest Biology with a concentration in entomology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry Ms….

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Ask Albany County to Dedicate Funds to Buy Pine Bush

Dear All, Save the Pine Bush made a great showing at the Albany County Legislature budget hearing held two days before Thanksgiving.  Seven of the eight speakers at the hearing asked for funds to buy Pine Bush.  Good for us! Tomorrow, December 5, the Albany County Legislature will vote on the budget.   Let’s continue our ask to the Albany County Legislature for funds to purchase the remaining privately-held properties in the Pine Bush ecosystem.   Anyone can speak at…

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The Dunn Dump Should be Closed!

by Tom Ellis New Yorkers live in an environmental health Twilight Zone. Governor Hochul and the state legislature are seeking election or reelection this fall, encouraging voters to approve a $4.2 billion environmental bond act, while quietly facilitating continued operations in Rensselaer of the largest construction and demolition debris dump in the state, and that borders a 1100 student-staff school. Many people think it insane to operate a dump next to a school. The NYS Legislature has not enacted legislation…

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A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Long time SPB member Tom Ellis spoke at the June 22 SPB virtual meeting. He reviewed the book, “A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks” by Brad Edmondson, published last year. Tom discussed the same book at an in-person review on May 24 for the Friends of the Albany Public Library. Tom said the title of the book (A Wild Idea) came from what, in the late 1960s, was a utopian belief:…

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Practical Steps We Can Take to Save Our Climate

by Tom Ellis Ed. Note: Here is the PowerPoint for the lecture. We are working on getting the audio from the lecture online in the coming weeks. ALBANY, NY: Tina Lieberman and Bill Reinhardt spoke remotely at an Earth Day April 20 SPB meeting about practical steps we can take to reduce carbon emissions and save our climate. Lynne introduced the program and Carole Waterman the speakers. Tina spoke first, then Bill, each then took turns, with finally a discussion…

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Close Waste Connections Dunn Construction and Demolition Debris Dump!

by Tom Ellis RENSSELAER, NY: Rensselaer and East Greenbush (R&EG) residents continue organizing to close the Waste Connections (WC) Dunn construction and demolition debris dump. The overarching issue is the dump is sited in a major population area and thus affects many people. It is located next to the Rensselaer public school campus and in between R&EG neighborhoods. Tractor trailers–sometimes in convoys–traverse downtown Rensselaer streets every weekday from 6:30 a.m. until late afternoon, ruining the health and quality of life…

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Save the Pine Bush Update and the War on Terror

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Lynne Jackson spoke about current developments in the Pine Bush and Steve Downs about The War on Terror – Twenty Years Later, at the February 23 Save the Pine Bush virtual meeting. After thanking SPB members for their financial contributions to assist one of SPB’s dinner chefs, Adam Baldwin, with his sudden medical bills, Lynne thanked Andy Arthur for creating an on-line “event sweeper” that quickly identifies proposed projects in the pine barrens sections of…

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Efforts Continue in 2022 to Rein in Two Local Polluters

by Tom Ellis ALBANY& RENSSELAER, NY: In early March, the mayor of Cohoes called for the end to Norlite’s hazardous waste incineration in the city. He acknowledged Norlite can continue operating its cement business without burning poisonous wastes. Profits would decrease because Norlite would have to purchase and pay for fuel rather than being paid to take it. An end to hazardous waste burning would be a relief to Cohoes and Troy residents. DEC, which has been obsessed for decades…

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The Damaging Health Effects of the Dunn Dump

by Tom Ellis RENSSELAER, NY: David Carpenter, a renowned local physician who studies the human health impacts of toxic materials, spoke at a December 2nd East Greenbush Town Board (EGTB) forum on the Dunn dump. He was the first presenter on a five-person panel. The Dunn construction and demolition debris dump, owned by Waste Connections, sits atop a hill next to the Rensselaer public school campus and the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, and in between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods. Odors…

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Save the Pine Bush Loses a Friend – Lou Ismay

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Lou Ismay died on October 12. He was 96. One of the great environmental leaders and educators of the last half-century, he pioneered a unique course–the Environmental Forum–at the University at Albany where students chose and worked on important short- and long-term environmental projects that were often handed over to new students who took the course the following semester. Some projects continued for years. NYS government employees often provided tips for projects. The course was…

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What Really Happens to the Dunn Dump Complaints?

by Tom Ellis RENSSELAER, NY: The Rensselaer Environmental Coalition continues its four-year-campaign to immediately close the construction and demolition debris dump in Rensselaer while dealing with an unresponsive state government. Residents of Rensselaer and East Greenbush (R&EG) remain disgusted with how the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) takes odor and other complaints about the dump. DEC set up a system where people dial a DEC-supplied telephone number that is answered by Dunn Waste Connections — the owners of the…

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Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic Defends the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Todd Ommen and Robert O’Connor of the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic (PELC) made a joint zoom presentation at the June 16th Save the Pine Bush dinner. Lynne Jackson hosted the event. Mr. Ommen led off. He is the PELC managing attorney and supervises interns. He began practicing environmental law in 2007, joined PELC in 2016, after prior corporate litigation and a stint with the NY Attorney General. He said there was little environmental law in…

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Lafarge Can’t Burn Tires!

By Tom Ellis, June/July 2021 Newsletter HUDSON RIVER VALLEY: Residents of Hudson River valley, but especially Ravena and Coeymans, won a great victory on May 5 when the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner issued a short statement revoking its prior authorization for the Lafarge cement company’s to burn tires at its Ravena cement kiln. The DEC statement said the “Lafarge facility currently lacks the infrastructure to burn TDF [tire derived fuel], and has not, nor has it ever,…

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The Pine Bush & the Pandemic – April 2021 Save the Pine Bush Lecture by Long time Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC) Conservation Director Neil Gifford

By Tom Ellis, June/July 2021 Save the Pine Bush Newsletter ON THE INTERNET: Long time Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC) Conservation Director Neil Gifford began his April 17, 2021 SPB meeting comments saying, “Thirty years of managing the world’s best scrub oak pitch pine barrens has taught us a lot.” His topic was “The Pine Bush and the Pandemic: Update on the Preserve.” He offered an update on land protection, management and monitoring. His comments focused on paleoecology. He…

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Colonie Landfill Updates

by Tom Ellis The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) illegally granted the town of Colonie permits on April 5 to vastly enlarge its landfill located near Route 9 on the bank of the Mohawk River. The Saratoga County towns of Waterford and Halfmoon have filed lawsuits challenging DEC’s ruling. With the new permits, the dump, which sits atop an unlined hazardous waste dump, parts of which are within 100 feet of the river, would be allowed to remain open…

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The Poor People’s Campaign

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Joe Paparone of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS and former Albany Common Council member Vivian Kornegay spoke about The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Renewal (PPC), at the April 18 SPB dinner. Joe described himself as a sax player but not a singer, and works on immigration issues.. He said people in forty states are participating in PPC. He frequently quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., and said Rev. King sought to make…

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Truck Traffic in Rensselaer: Update

by Christine Kielb Tom Ellis and Christine Kielb of Stop Trucks Assaulting Rensselaer (STAR), a group of Rensselaer residents and their allies, are continuing their work fighting the tractor trailer truck traffic passing through city neighborhoods to and from the Dunn Construction and Demolition (C&D) landfill. This landfill operation, larger than the Colonie and Albany landfills combined, is expected to continue for many years, possibly until 2036, unless successfully challenged. The problem began in 2012 when the NYS Department of…

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The Islands of Radix Center

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Scott Kellogg and Justina Thompson spoke at the September 19th SPB dinner. Scott is the executive director of the Radix Center at 153 Grand Street in the South End of Albany. Justina is a 19-year-old student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute majoring in sustainability studies. Both are highly enthusiastic about their work and are accomplished experts in environmental education. Before they began, Grace Nichols spoke briefly saying insect populations are rapidly declining for multiple reasons. These…

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Peter Lavenia Explains Why Europe is Ahead of the US on Energy and Climate

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Albany resident and Secretary of the NYS Green Party Peter Lavenia was the featured speaker at the August 14 SPB dinner. He spoke about Renewable Energy: Why the Old Country is New Again and We’re Not.  What Peter did was compare the political climates in Europe and the United States to explain why Europe is moving farther and faster ahead of the US in limiting greenhouse gas emissions and developing safe, renewable energy. Peter, who thinks of…

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PAUSE – Zero Waste

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC or Commission) Conservation Director Neil Gifford spoke at SPB’s June 19 dinner about the ongoing work of the the Com- mission and the proposed Pyramid Crossgates 222-unit apartment development on Rapp Road inGuilderland. He began saying that “in no small part do we [the Commission] owe our existence” to the work of Save the Pine Bush. At it’s best, he said the Pine Bush is a savanna with some…

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Neil Gifford – Good News about the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: “I would not be standing here without the work Save the Pine Bush has done to hold people accountable,” said Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC or commission) Director Neil Gifford, as he began his presentation at the May 18 SPB dinner. Neil spoke at length about the Karner Blue Butterfly (KBB). Lynne Jackson introduced him saying APBPC sustains the Pine Bush and Neil has been with the commission for 19 years. Neil said the…

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Proposed Lincoln Park Sewage Treatment Plant

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Dan Van Riper spoke about the proposed Lincoln Park sewage treatment facility at the May 16 SPB dinner. His wife, Lynne Jackson, introduced him saying Dan has studied the sewage issue for more than ten years and written about it extensively on his blog Dan began saying, “This is a really complex issue and if you don’t understand it, I don’ blame you.” He said the city wants the treatment plant in the ravine along…

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Community Compost Initiative A weekly compost pick-up service

by Tom Ellis Throwing food waste into landfills creates greenhouse gases, which significantly contribute to global warming and takes up space in Albany’s Rapp Road landfill. Since Albany’s landfill was built in protected Pine Bush habitat, this is an especial problem. If you live in the City of Albany, you can reduce greenhouse gases and divert waste from Albany’s overburdened landfill, while at the same time supporting a local non-profit and ecologically regenerative micro-industry, by joining the Radix Center’s Community…

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Ban Styrofoam in Albany County

by Tom Ellis Albany County legislator Doug “Bullhorn” Bullock has proposed legislation that would ban the use of take-out polystyrene (Styrofoam) food and beverage containers from chain restaurants and eateries in the county.  The proposed bill, called the Food Service Waste Reduction Act, has numerous co-sponsors and may be voted on Tuesday, November 12. A poorly attended public hearing in late August was dominated by out-of-state plastics and chemical industries representatives.  However, more than ten county residents spoke in favor of the ban at the September 9 monthly meeting and three…

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Million Worker March Million Worker March by Lynne Jackson On Sunday, October 17, my friend Jennifer Lindop and I got on a bus to go to Washington, DC fro the Million Worker March. We left from Albany, NY at midnight, arrived in Washington at 7:30 am. We visited memorials on the mall before attending the march. It was a beautiful day – not just the weather, but especially since the Million Worker March was the coming together of the labor…

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Dan McCoy Speaks at Save the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis   ALBANY, NY: At the March 16 SPB dinner, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy spoke about Environmental Accomplishments and the Agenda for the Future.   Mr. McCoy began with, “There is so much we’ve done” and “You’re organization — Save the Pine Bush — has been the rock of our community.”  Mr. McCoy grew up in Albany and still lives in the city.   He said his love of nature and being out in it resulted in…

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Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk After the Election: Doing the Peoples’ Work

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Newly elected Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and state Senator Cecilia Thaczyk were the featured speakers at the January 16 Save the Pine Bush dinner held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Carol Waterman made the introductions. Ms. Tkaczyk had not yet been certified the winner but in her comments, she said she was certain she would prevail, which she did two days later. Pat Fahy began saying that while she barely had time to read the new…

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Lou Ismay and the Environmental Forum

by Tom Ellis   One of the things I teach my students is that each of us can learn a lot from our elders, especially those who lead rich lives filled with interesting activities.  With that in mind, several months ago I asked Lou Ismay to speak at a SPB dinner which he did on November 14. Lou was introduced by Jackson Davis, who had taken the Environmental Forum course Lou taught at the University at Albany.  Jackson said when he showed up…

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Meeting with DEC Officials

by Tom Ellis RENSSELAER, NY: Five residents of Rensselaer and one each from East Greenbush, Menands, and Albany (me) met on September 18 with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about the Dunn dump in Rensselaer. The DEC official included an assistant commissioner, chief counsel, chief of staff, and regional director. The meeting, held at DEC state headquarters in Albany, was a follow up to a similar meeting in mid-January.  We made it clear that we continue to favor…

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SHARE Opposes the Microgrid Fossil Fuel Plant in Sheridan Hollow

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: A panel that included Albany County legislator Merton Simpson spoke in opposition to the proposed Sheridan Hollow Microgrid Fossil Fuel Plant at the October 18 Save the Pine Bush dinner. About 45 attended. Also speaking were engineer Keith Schue and environmental health advocate, Rita Ogburn-McCall. Sandy Steubing moderated the discussion. Sandy said the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the state-owned electric utility, had, moments earlier, notified her that it would not participate in a previously…

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Are the Winds of Change Finally Here?

By Hugh Johnson ON THE INTERNET: Lynne Jackson invited me to give a ZOOM talk about the status of our climate change at the February 17, 2021, “Save the Pine Bush Meeting.” In this winter of COVID, it was easy to forget we are still in a climate crisis. Look what happened in Texas during mid February. Due to a collapse of the Polar Vortex and very warm temperatures right at the North Pole region, an exceptionally bitter Arctic air…

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Clean Air Update

By Tom Ellis ALBANY COUNTY: The Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena-Coeyamns held a community forum on February 9 about its continuing efforts to block the Lafarge cement company from burning tires near the Hudson River in Ravena, and directly across Route 9W from the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) Middle and High Schools. Christine Primomo, a retired nurse and Coeymans resident, began the forum asking Why are large corporations so determined to burn hazardous wastes in our communities? and Where are our…

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16-09 Sept-Oct Newsletter

16-09 Sept-Oct Newsletter Sept/Oct 16 No. 132 • 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210 • email pinebush@mac.com • phone 518-462-0891 • web http://www.savethepinebush.org • Circ. 600 Vegetarian/Vegan Dinner Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Climate Crisis and Practical Solutions Conor Bambrick Air & Energy Director, Environmental Advocates of NY will speak about NY Renews and practical solutions for transition to clean energy Mark Schaeffer who works with 350.org will speak about Overview of climate crisis and need for a political…

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Mayor Kathy Sheehan Speaks to Save the Pine Bush

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: Albany Mayor-Elect Kathy Sheehan spoke at the November 20 SPB dinner.  Kathy said she is from a big Irish Catholic family, Albany residents “are desperate for change,” and residents told her “Albany is like an incredible stallion that someone keeps pulling on the reins.”  She said she plans considerable community involvement in the decision-making processes of Albany.  When others make decisions for us, we get the Empire State Plaza that cuts Center Square off from downtown…

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Stop the Landfill Expansion — Get Involved!

VILLAGE OF COLONIE: On May 3, Save the Pine Bush members met to discuss the next steps in fighting against the proposed landfill expansion in the Pine Bush and for a rational solid waste police. Village of Colonie Mayor Frank Leak graciously opened the Village of Colonie Family Recreation Center for our meeting. Mayor Leak told us of a recent visit he made to the Rapp Road landfill at the invitation of Albany County Legislators William Clay and Frank Commisso….

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Shawn Morris Speaks to Save the Pine Bush

ALBANY: Shawn Morris, candidate for Common Council President spoke at the July Save the Pine Bush dinner at the First Presbyterian Church. Four candidates are running in the Democratic Primary for Common Council President; all were invited to speak, but only Shawn Morris attended the dinner. Shawn began by describing the Common Council President’s roll in city government. The President has three functions: 1) to preside at the Common Council meetings, 2) sit on various City Boards and 3) to…

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Albany Pine Bush Nature Cache: Participation Encourages Public Land Stewardship

by Tom Ellis For more than 10 years, the city of Albany has attempted to site a large regional solid waste landfill in the town of Coeymans. The dump would be located about a mile south of where the Berkshire Spur section of the New York State Thruway connects to I-87. Trash would come from Albany, Cohoes, Berne, Bethleham, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland, Westerlo, Watervliet, Rensselaer, Altamont, Rensselaerville, Green Island and elsewhere. Among the reasons Coeymans residents oppose the project…

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Updates on the trash problems in Rensselaer

by Chris Kielb and Tom Ellis Rensselaer and East Greenbush residents and their allies (Rensselaer Environmental Coalition, REC) continue to organize to block the proposed Bio HiTech municipal solid waste processing facility on the former BASF industrial site, south of Columbia Turnpike. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sent now-departed Rensselaer Mayor Moody a memo late last year detailing the faulty methods the city used in fast-tracking their approval of the proposed BioHiTech plant and urging them to consider…

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Dump expansion rapped

ALBANY — If the crowd at the Polish Community Center on Wednesday ran the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany would not get permission to expand its Rapp Road dump in the environmentally-sensitive Pine Bush Preserve. Several hundred people packed the DEC hearing on the city’s request, with loudest applause going to dump opponents, like Colonie Village Mayor Frank Leak. "Given the city’s history of operating problems, and the lack of motivation toward solving those problems, if this request is…

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Honoring Lou Ismay at the April SPB Dinner

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: “If we lose reverence for any part of life, we lose reverence for all of life,” said Save the Pine Bush member Lou Ismay at the April 17th SPB dinner at which Lou spoke about his launching the Protect Your Environment (PYE) Club at SUNY Albany fifty years ago. He said many future members of Save the Pine Bush met each other through PYE. Before Lou spoke, Lynne Jackson read proclamations honoring Lou and his…

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Done with the Dunn Dump

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: David Ellis of Rensselaer Residents Against Toxic Dumping and Lou Sebesta of Stop Trucks Assaulting Rensselaer (STAR) spoke at the May 15th SPB dinner about “Done with Dunn Landfill: Negative Impacts of Dunn C/D Dump Operations” in Rensselaer, and their efforts to close it. Later in the evening, George Keleshian of Zeroenergy Buildings, Inc., finished the presentation he did not have enough time to complete at the April SPB dinner. Before they spoke, Lynne Jackson…

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DEC is Derelict its Duty — Not Requiring Preparation of Environmental Impact Statements

by Tom Ellis A growing problem in the capital region and probably elsewhere in New York is that large or gigantic proposed projects, many with potentially enormous environmental impacts, are passing thorough the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) regulatory system without environmental impact statements (EIS) being produced, as required under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act. DEC is playing a huge role in this problem. I first noticed it in 2005 when DEC issued a negative declaration allowing…

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The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied

by Tom Ellis ALBANY, NY: “This book is about regulatory capture by a large corporate interest,” said Bruce Campbell. He discussed the 2013 runaway train explosion in the Quebec town of the Lac- Mégantic at the March 20 SPB dinner. Mr. Campbell is the author of The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied, published last year. He was joined by former Albany Common Councilman Dominick Calsolaro, who led the struggle against the “bomb trains” in Albany earlier this decade….

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DEC Should Enforce the Rules

by Tom Ellis New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos responded to a March 4 Albany Times Union editorial with a letter to the editor ten days later. The editorial titled, “Weak fines, weak message,” strongly criticized the DEC’s “spotty record on cracking down on local environmental violations.” Specifically discussed were the Colonie Landfill, the Port of Coeymans, and the Dunn construction and demolition (C&D) debris landfill in Rensselaer. The editorial stated: “To be a useful compliance…

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