Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 08.12.21

We Deserve a Cleaner Environment

The next few years are critical to the health and safety of Cohoes, Troy, Rensselaer, and East Greenbush residents. The state government will likely decide whether to renew or deny permits for continued operations of the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator (Cohoes) and the Dunn Waste Connections dump (Rensselaer). Norlite is owned by a Spanish company and Dunn by a Texas corporation.

Both Norlite and Dunn are notorious polluters. Norlite is located in a city and Dunn next to a school. Norlite air pollution is often visible and neighbors say it makes them and their children ill. Dunn odors and noise sometimes permeate the school and in- and out-bound tractor trailer traffic assaults downtown residents with noise, dirt, vibrations, and diesel exhaust.

The issue is not how to make Norlite and Dunn less hazardous to human health–thus facilitating long-term continued operations–but to finally acknowledge that these industrial operations are inappropriately sited, can never be made safe, and must be shut down.

Now is the time for state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo to speak up. We elect you to lead and to protect public health and the environment. Silence may be interpreted as complicity in permit renewals and in the continued poisoning of area residents.

Shutting down Norlite’s hazardous waste incinerator will not force Norlite to close its factory, nor would shutting the Dunn dump leave wastes with no other place to go.

Tom Ellis, Albany

Appreciation for West Sand Lake Fire Department and Ambulance

Thank you to the volunteers of the West Sand Lake Fire Department and West Sand Lake Ambulance Inc in response to a vehicle accident on Parker Rd around 1:00 AM on July 15. The County Executive declared a state of emergency in the afternoon. A person left June Farms, failed to negotiate a turn, crashed through trees, went over a stream, wiped out a flower bed and landed submerged in a flooded field. According to the NYS Police Accident Report, the operator of the vehicle was issued tickets, a speed violation and two serious alcohol violations. I commend the volunteers responding to many emergencies they handled during the storm.

Janet Buck, West Sand Lake

Flood history of Sand Lake

With regard to the recent flooding in Sand Lake, which was indeed devastating to the local community, if one studies the history of flooding in Sand Lake over time, this is not a “new normal,” and we indeed have been here before. I certainly remember back in the 1950’s when the eye of a hurricane passed over this area, and the bridge in Poestenkill was washed out as was the bridge on Liberty Lane in Poestenkill. According to “Rensselaer County Floods: A Short History” by John Warren, and this is something we learned as schoolchildren when I was young, when we were expected to know something about the community we were a part of, the earliest recorded flood along the Poesten Kill was caused by the heavy rains in 1814 which swept away the tannery and bath and boarding houses in Poestenkill Village and changed the course of that kill, moving it from one side of the village, behind the Poestenkill Elementary School, to the other, where it flows today. In September of 1890, the town of Sand Lake was described as a disaster area and in Averill Park the mill of A.J. Smart was damaged and the dam on the mill pond washed out adding to the swell of water in the Wynants Kill headed for West Sand Lake where the tenements of the McLaren mill and two grist mills were washed away along with the bridges, and as it reached the village of Wynantskill, the water demolished the barn and shop of Solomon Fesser and sent the lumber mill and a large stock of lumber owned by John F. Hayner downstream. As to the future to prevent these disasters, as if we could somehow stop the rain or make it go away, if one looks at the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Rensselaer County, one finds a Sand Lake Town Notice which reads as follows: Hazard Mitigation Planning Project – The Town of Sand Lake (Supervisor Rounds) in conjunction with Rensselaer County is working together on a FEMA-approved mitigation plan with a draft plan targeted for December 2010. So where is it? Does anyone know?

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Are we ready for the next extreme rainfall?

I echo Alex Flood’s July 29 Letter to the Editor.

Let’s share good news of how we are preparing for flooding, droughts, heat waves, and wild fires, by reducing the amount of stormwater runoff, and keeping that moisture in our landscapes.

Here is some encouraging news from my town’s website:

The June 2021 public presentation on the Town of North Greenbush Stormwater Management Plan is posted on the website. It includes The Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater. The town’s Stormwater Management Department is tentatively planning a public presentation: Residential Stormwater Best Management Practices: What can homeowners and businesses do to improve stormwater measures on their property.

Volunteering and involvement are welcome. Interested in getting involved with stormwater management issues in the Town? Do you have a Best Management Practice or tip for individual stormwater management that you’d like to share? Is there an activity you would like to see or perhaps a committee you would form regarding stormwater issues? If so, please feel free to contact the Stormwater Management Officer at EWestfall@nullnorthgreenbush.org.

Sheree Cammer, Wynantskill

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