News Updates...Boonville Breaks Resolution
On Monday night November 14, the Town of Boonville, Supervisor Harkey Bellinger, the Village of Boonville, and Mayor Dave Ernst, voted to hold negotiations with the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (OHSWA) regarding host community compensation for the Ava landfill.
In August 2004, the Town of Boonville agreed to a Joint Board Resolution refusing to negotiate with the Solid Waste Authority, unless, at such time, the neighboring towns of Ava, Boonville, and Lewis agreed to do so as a united coalition of boards. The town of Boonville is presently acting in violation of this joint resolution.
It is important for the communities to note that OHSWA has refused to stipulate a non-transferable permit. The possibility remains that sometime in the future, OHSWA could attempt to sell the landfill and permit to a private entity. If Ava never becomes a willing host community, they retain their legal authority to regulate private landfills within their community, including a ban on private landfills.
Refusing to be a willing host community has other benefits. New York City (NYC) will never be able to export its trash to Ava, so long as the landfill remains subject to the Solid Waste Authority. NYC garbage crisis is one of the greatest threats not only to Ava, but to all of rural upstate New York. The Sixth Report to the Governor and Legislature, dated October 1997 by the New York State Solid Waste Management Board states, “DEC figures indicate sufficient landfill capacity Upstate to substitute for a good portion of the loss of Fresh Kills Landfill capacity. However, the acceptance of New York City garbage by Upstate communities could be substantially delayed by county or municipal legislative and court actions.” This report bears the signature of OHSWA Executive Director Hans Arnold.
There is no guarantee the current law prohibiting OHSWA from importing trash will never be changed. What we know for sure, NYC cannot send its trash to a community that is not participating in a HCA. Leasing the landfill would offer no benefit without the HCA; importing trash from outside the two county area could not happen without it.
Finally, under Superfund, the Federal Cleanup Law, communities that enter into host community agreements become liable for environmental pollution that may result in fines, criminal penalties, litigation and clean-up costs when the site becomes contaminated.
OHSWA’s offer of community compensation can never mitigate the negative effects of hosting a landfill. The HCA will potentially allow more waste to be taken in, which in turn results in more harm to the environment and the communities. Some residents in host communities have stated it was the biggest mistake they ever made.
By Kathy Crofoot and Jacki Chamberlain, ACAL Communications Committee Members
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