Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 08.04.22

State government allows Dunn dump to operate with expired permit

The permit for the Dunn construction and demolition debris dump in Rensselaer expired on July 19. The state is allowing dumping to continue while the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) evaluates a renewal application from the dump’s owner, Waste Connections Corp. (WC). Twice this year DEC determined that a WC renewal application was incomplete. It may take until 2023 for WC to submit a complete application and another year for DEC to evaluate it. 

This is unacceptable. The state government should not allow dumps and incinerators to operate with expired permits. (Norlite is burning hazardous waste in Cohoes with an air permit that expired late in 2020.)

The Rensselaer Environmental Coalition (REC) and allies held demonstrations from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. on July 20, 21, and 22 in downtown Rensselaer along the truck route. Television and print media attended the first demonstration but dump operators held the trucks until after 9:00 a.m. to deprive the news media and public any visuals of the 10-15 tractor trailers (5-7 axles) that clog downtown streets each weekday between 6:35 and 6:45 a.m. Many other trucks arrive later. All depart the dump along the same route.

As of July 27, nobody in state government has called for either the immediate or eventual closure of the dump that borders the Rensselaer public school campus and often damages health and ruins the quality of life of Rensselaer and East Greenbush residents.

While hardly an ideal solution, market forces will quickly locate other dumps for the wastes when the dump is permanently closed..

Tom Ellis, Albany 

HVCC’s Failure to Provide Details about International Travel on the taxpayers’ dime troubling

Prior to voting on HVCC’s budget, Cindy Doran, Deputy Minority Leader of the County Legislature, sought information concerning many international trips taken by the College’s president and others connected to the school, including the president of the board of trustees. Legislator Doran’s request was prompted by constituent concerns. I myself had heard of these overseas trips featuring luxury accommodations and fine dining from those who work at HVCC.

 Legislator Doran and her colleagues on the legislature are stewards of the county funds that help fund HVCC and are entitled to know the cost of these trips, the names of the travelers, and most importantly, how these travel benefitted HVCC, a community college in upstate New York. Predictably, the college stalled on Ms. Doran’s request, directing her to use the FOIL process instead. 

This response was completely inappropriate as Legislator Doran is a public official who should not have to resort to FOIL to educate herself and her fellow legislators on the county budget. Realizing the “optics” were not good, the PR shop at HVCC jumped into action once a Times Union reporter called. 

In a July 26 article, HVCC President Ramsammy attempted to justify the 10 international trips which he and others in the HVCC community have taken in the past 4 years. According to President Ramsammy, some of the trips have led to partnerships with foreign school and international students. The financial benefits to the school remained a little vague (Ramsammy estimated the revenue from one program as ranging between $200,000 and $500,000 per year). ) 

More puzzling were trips to visit wind turbine factories in Germany and Denmark as such turbines are manufactured in the United States by companies such as GE Wind. Perhaps even online tours could have been arranged. HVCC should be more transparent with requests from the county legislature and should also re-examine its international travel policies.

Mary Frances Sabo, North Greenbush

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