By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO August 2, 2005 Attorneys will begin their battle today in order to decide the future of the Sullivan County Landfill during two issues conferences this week in front of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Administrative Law Judge Edward Buhrmaster.
Todays hearing will be held from 1-5 p.m. at the Sullivan County Courthouse in Monticello.
Sullivan County is applying for permits to proceed with its Phase 2 expansion of the controversial waste site. Plans are to increase the perimeter of the site from 45.5 acres to 79.2 acres, its height from 100 feet to 200 feet high, and the total amount of waste accepted to triple.
The expansion will be opposed at the conference by the Town of Thompson and a group of concerned citizens comprised of SPECS, Mountain Lodge Estates and other nearby residents.
The residents have complained for years about the negative health effects related to the gasses released there, the possibility of the groundwater being contaminated, and the odor. The landfill has also run the county a debt of more than $50 million.
All nine Sullivan County legislators recently shared their views on the touchy subject.
Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Chris Cunningham (District 1)
He supports the expansion of the landfill but continues to be open to alternatives. He led the hiring of Stephen Lynch to examine options related to the countys future solid waste program. That report should be presented this month to the legislature.
Kathleen LaBuda, Sullivan County Legislature Majority Leader and Chairwoman of the Public Works Committee (District 2)
LaBuda supports the Phase 2 expansion, but only if the residents who live near the site are bought out. She is expecting the report from Lynch, which will advise the county on how many homes should be bought out, as well as other suggestions for the countys solid waste future.
Sullivan County Legislator Greg Goldstein (District 3)
Goldstein no longer supports the expansion of the landfill. He believes it is too expensive. Either the county should privatize its operations or move its trash elsewhere, he said.
Sullivan County Legislator Jonathan Rouis (District 4)
Rouis fully supports the expansion of the landfill.
Sullivan County Legislature Minority Leader Rodney Gaebel (District 5)
He supports the expansion of the landfill. He does not believe residents who live near the site have proved that their health has been negatively affected.
Sullivan County Legislator Jodi Goodman (District 6)
Goodman supports the Phase 2 expansion but said the county could do a better job of improving the quality of its operation.
Sullivan County Legislator Leni Binder (District 7)
Binder supports the expansion of the landfill. She was supportive of working with Taylor Recycling as an alternative but never pushed for it.
Sullivan County Legislator Ron Hiatt (District 8)
I am opposed to the Phase 2 expansion as it is planned. I am still waiting for the experts to give us cost estimates to move [the landfill site]. It should not be in the [Village of Monticello].
He said that while he believed the landfill was good for the county to have, it should not be located in a residential community.
If the expansion does go forward at its current site, he said the residents who live near there should be bought out at high market value.
You cant just be business as usual. he said. Its no way to live.
Sullivan County Legislator Sam Wohl (District 9)
Nothings changed. I am vehemently opposed to Phase 2.
He recently visited Waste Management in Goshen, a transfer station that handles 2,000 tons a week which is currently more than the county is accepting. He said that could be an alternative to expanding the countys landfill.