The Albany Common Council The Debate and the Vote

ALBANY: The Albany Common Council voted 11-4 to ask the NYS Legislature to remove land from the Preserve and use it for the landfill expansion. The four who voted for Pine Bush Preservation were the Honorables Dominick Calsolaro, Ward 1, Corey Ellis, Ward 3, Cathy Fahey, Ward 7, and Barbara Smith, Ward 4.

The debate on the vote began when the Honorable Michael O’Brien, Ward 12 observed that municipalities are on the tail end of a consumer society that leaves the municipalities to deal with the garbage. He asked if this is really a problem that Albany can solve; that it is really a federal and state issue and voted to take land from the Preserve for the landfill.

In contrast, Mr. Calsolaro made an impassioned statement about the lack of public involvement in this bill. He stated that unlike the NYS Legislature, at least the Common Council gave a chance to some members of the public to speak on this proposal. He noted that most of the members of the ANSWERS consortium signed a letter in support of taking the land. And why? “Because it’s not in their backyard. It’s in my back yard!” Mr. Calsolaro said, “I was betrayed. I was promised by the City Administration to my face that the City would hold hearings. I was lied to.” Mr. Calsolaro spoke about the fact that the City illegally bulldozed the Preserve, that only 9% of the garbage in the landfill comes from Albany residents, and that the government is not supposed to make a profit. He objects to the City taking the maximum amount of garbage allowed into the landfill, filling up the landfill quicker than necessary. He said this land is “prime pine barrens and can’t be replaced; just can’t do it! . . This is prime land — once it’s gone, it’s gone.” The City, he said, is “taking the easy way out.”

Ms. Fahey stated that “we are on the tail end of a throwaway society, but the solutions are only going to be made by people like you and me.”