NYSDEC, Environmental Injustice, and PFOA
Any possible excuse that the NYSDEC was unaware of groundwater issues in the area of the Poestenkill transfer station goes right out the window with a decision of Hon. Robert C. Williams, JSC, on 29 October 1993 in The Matter of the Application of Paul R. Plante For a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules against New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Thomas C. Jorling as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Benson Bros. Disposal, Inc. wherein the Judge stated as follows:
Petitioner Paul R. Plante seeks “an Order and/or judgment pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules to annul the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s determination on April 7, 1993 to issue a Part 360 Solid Waste Management Facility Construction Permit to Benson Brothers Inc., together with costs and disbursements of this action.
The petitioner alleges that he lives about a half a mile from the facility (Verified Petition, para. 249).
He claims that discharge from the facility will run into his surface or groundwater (id. at 244-255), that noise from the facility will affect him (id. at 265-66), that odor from the facility will drift towards his residence (id. at 286-88), and that the facility will change the rural nature of the community.
In enacting article 27 of the ECL, the Legislature arguably sought to protect people living near solid waste facilities from environmental harm.
Accordingly, the Court finds that the petitioner has standing under common law principles governing that doctrine.
But in the case of the Poestenkill transfer station, a possible source of the PFOA, the DEC never intended to protect people living near the Poestenkill transfer station from environmental harm.
Quite to the contrary, we were all deemed expendable, not worthy of protection, which is a classic definition of environmental injustice by the DEC.
Paul Plante, Averill Park
Time For Open Government In Poestenkill
On Oct. 18, I attended a “Meet The Candidates” event at the Poestenkill VFW. A few days later, I attended a Poestenkill Town Board meeting. Quite a difference! The Board meeting was better attended, possibly because of a larger venue, and partly because there were a number of concerned residents that were unhappy with the way the Town Board “handled” some serious issues. From Town Code enforcement to concerns about PFOAs in wells around Algonquin MS. Some wells have been tested and the chemical showed up in about 25% of the wells. Pretty serious and certainly something to worry about considering that some of the related problems can be fatal. One resident at the meeting spoke of her own health issues. This woman lives close to the AMS, where the chemical was discovered.
Others in the audience also spoke of their concerns. But that is not the point of my letter. I was struck by three points. One, that there are quite a few more residents interested in attending Town meetings than can safely attend in our Town Hall as the meeting room is fairly small. Two. The Town Board really had no definitive course of action for any of the raised concerns other than to defer action. A bit troubling as this is public safety. But I will point out that the Board did ask the Town Water Department Head to come up with a plan to test and a cost estimate. That will be decided after the election. Is there a connection?
The third point, and most troubling is that the board reviewed, and voted down a proposal to “Live Stream” our town meetings. And that proposal did have a price included. When I saw that simple and useful proposal shot down, I tried to make the connection. Could it be that candidates are willing to say almost anything to get elected but when there is a real chance for the voters to see them in action (like at a Town Board meeting) would they prefer smaller crowds? What is it about inviting the voters and Taxpayers to “attend” any meeting they wan
Evan Eisenhandler, Poestenkill