No dump in the Pine Bush!

For Immediate Release:  January 25, 2006

For Further Information, contact Lynne Jackson

ALBANY, NY — Mayor Jennings’ new landfill proposal is just as bad as his last proposal, only his new proposal may mean the end of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

Mayor Jennings proposes to take 10 acres from the forever wild Albany Pine Bush Preserve and turn it into the landfill.

“Land dedicated to the Preserve is forever wild, which means forever wild.  Taking land from the Preserve for a dump sets a terrible precedent.  Who is to say that in another five years another ten acres won’t be needed, and then another and another until there is no Preserve left?  What is the meaning of having a preserve if public officials can willy-nilly take land from the Preserve and use it to dump garbage whenever they please?” said Lynne Jackson, volunteer for Save the Pine Bush.  “It does not take a rocket scientist to see where this is going — the Mayor won’t stop until the entire city Preserve is stuffed with garbage.”

The Mayor’s new landfill plan was concocted after Save the Pine Bush’s most recent victory. The day after Save the Pine Bush sued Mayor Jennings and the City of Albany to force the city to dedicate the Fox Run Moblie Home Park to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, Mayor Jennings announced that the city would do as required — dedicate this important land to the Preserve.  Attorney Peter Henner represented Save the Pine Bush.

Taking dedicated pieces of the Preserve and filling them with garbage will be the death knell for the Pine Bush.

The future of Pine Bush ecosystem is not secure. Only about half of the ecosystem has been purchased for preservation, and there is not enough Pine Bush in the Preserve today for the ecosystem to survive.  Thousands more acres need to be purchase to protect the Pine Bush in perpetuity. 

Save the Pine Bush calls upon the Mayor to look for other solutions to Albany’s garbage problem, and to retract the proposal to take land from the Preserve. 

Save the Pine Bush calls upon the Mayor to open up the process to solve Albany’s garbage problem.  Save the Pine Bush calls upon the Mayor to take the negotiations out of the back room and put them in a hearing room.  Albany is home to many scientists and engineers, why not call upon the collective intelligence of the citizens to solve this crucial problem instead of making secret deals?

The Pine Bush is a globally rare pine barrens ecosystem located on top of sand dunes.  The dominate species are pitch-pines and scrub oaks.  The most famous resident of the Pine Bush is the federally and state endangered Karner Blue butterfly.  In 2000, when the City of Albany received a permit to operate the P-4 Landfill expansion, the City was required to purchase and dedicate the Fox Run Mobile Home Park.  Though the City purchased the Mobile Home Park in 2000, they did not dedicate it to the Preserve as required.  Instead, last November, the City applied to expand the landfill on the site of the mobile home park.  Save the Pine Bush,  sued the Mayor and the City on January 18 of this year to force the City to dedicate the land to the Preserve.

The proposed site is on top of a principle aquifer, meaning an aquifer that has enough flow and capacity to produce water for a municipality.  It is illegal in New York State to site a landfill on top of a principal aquifer.

In 1990, then DEC Commissioner Thomas Jorling, upon granting approval of an earlier expansion of the Rapp Road landfill, declared "I cannot envision any set of circumstances that would justify the extension of the life of this interim landfill or the approval of another such facility in any other part of the Albany Pine Bush”. This is the third proposed landfill expansion after Mr. Jorling’s statement.  Ms. Jackson said, “Clearly, no government official is willing to stop the City from destroying the Pine Bush by filling it with garbage. ”