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* This article first appeared in The Times Herald-Record on December 21, 2000. Used by permission.



Orange County dump-site nullification fails to pass muster

GOSHEN: Orange County lawmakers yesterday voted 11-8 against a resolution to fully nullify one-time potential landfill sites.

By Christopher Mele
The Times Herald-Record

Orange County lawmakers yesterday rejected a symbolic resolution that showed that they're down on dumps.

Republicans blunted a Democratic-led effort to declare 17 possible landfill sites null and void. Critics attacked the measure as redundant and inflammatory political fodder for next year's elections.

Consultants identified the sites in 1993 as the county searched for suitable land to locate a new landfill. Faced with massive public opposition, the county ended the search while it was halfway done.

Given the politics of locating a landfill, the 17 sites and the efforts to build a new county dump have effectively been dead for years. The county exports its trash to a Pennsylvania dump.

Democratic lawmaker Jeffrey Berkman of Middletown wanted to drive a stake through the heart of the 17 sites. He wanted the county to explicitly declare the sites obsolete.

Berkman, piggybacking on an idea by Legislator Thomas Pahucki, D-New Hampton, also called on communities to ban dumps within a mile of schools and other public facilities.

The measure was non-binding and merely memorialized the Legislature's sentiment. But Legislator M. William Lahey, R-New Windsor, said the resolution would give unwarranted credence to the 17 sites.

"We're reincarnating a slain dragon,'' said Legislator A. Alan Seidman, R-Cornwall, who accused Democrats of playing politics. "There was nothing more controversial on the agenda, so something had to be brought up."

Legislator Patrick Berardinelli, R-Newburgh, asked why the Masada waste-to-ethanol plant proposed for Middletown was excluded from the resolution. Trucks bringing trash to the plant will spew pollution in a residential neighborhood, he said.

"That is going to be worse by far than 17 sites that are not even under consideration by Orange County,'' he said.


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