Schuyler Co. Resolution Asks DEC To Reject Recycling Facility Application

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — A new proposal for a recycling facility in Schuyler County is under consideration by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

A new recycling facility south of Seneca Lake is contested by a Schuyler County resolution up for vote Tuesday. (panoramio/Wikimedia Commons)

Members of the county legislature, however, are opposing the application as it stands now. The Schuyler County legislature will vote on a resolution that asks the DEC to expand its environmental review of the project and reopen public comment Tuesday night.

The proposed facility in Cayuta would bring in construction debris and municipal solid waste for recycling, according to Bob Mente, the owner of Alternative Waste Services in Newfield, which would operate the facility.

“It is one hundred percent designed to help the environment by reusing and extracting materials that are now thrown in the landfill and buried,” Mente said.

The resolution, brought by the Community Development and Natural Resources Committee last month, asks that the DEC conduct a “full, fair and exhaustive” environmental review of the facility before the application is approved.

According to the resolution, residents have expressed concerns about potential negative impacts of pollution and truck traffic from the facility on tourism, agriculture and human health.

Mente said he has addressed the traffic concerns; he amended the application to change the direction of traffic flow and to which landfills the leftover materials will go. Materials that can’t be recycled will be taken to landfills in Steuben and Chemung counties, not Seneca Meadows as was first discussed.

Mente filed the initial application with the DEC in January. According to Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman, the members of the legislature only learned about the proposal last month.

“A lot of legislators and a lot of county employees burned some midnight oil to try to put something together for this meeting,” Getman said.

The town of Cayuta, south of Seneca Lake, is generally supportive of the facility, according to Getman.

“People have supported the facility on the premise that it would bring jobs to the community, that the DEC application process is sufficient,” Getman said.

But the resolution said some county residents worry the seven-acre facility will expand into a landfill. Mente assured that won’t happen.

“I really don’t have a problem with the legislature and what they’re trying to do,” Mente said. “The problem is that the misleading information that’s out there has made them take this avenue.”

DEC approval of the facility is pending. The resolution can’t prevent authorization, but Getman said some legislators are considering a moratorium on waste operations in Schuyler County, which would require extensive preparation and passing a local law.

The county hopes the state will listen to their concerns prior to issuing any permit to Alternative Waste Services.