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Landfill Plan is Criticized

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — August 21, 2007 — For the better part of an hour, speaker after speaker urged the Sullivan County Legislature to stop the Phase II expansion of the landfill in Monticello.
Organized by SPECS (Special Protection of the Environment of the County of Sullivan), more than 100 people attended Thursday’s monthly meeting of the full Legislature to protest the county’s plans to enlarge the only remaining municipal landfill in the region.
SPECS’ Janet Newberg kicked off the comment session by advocating for following other municipalities’ efforts to turn old trash sites into educational/energy facilities.
“We must start thinking about the environment and future generations,” she insisted.
For the next hour, opinions took either that track or focused on health conditions, since many of those who spoke live near the landfill.
“Something stinks in Monticello,” remarked Carol Perlman, who said she represented her 500 neighbors in Beaver Lake Estates along Southwoods Drive. “Money versus human lives? I don’t see the advantages.
“The consensus of the people is to stay in Monticello and not expand the landfill one inch or one shovelful,” she concluded to applause.
But Lumberland Supervisor John LiGreci, who chairs the Association of Supervisors (consisting of Sullivan County’s 15 township supervisors), indicated that such concerns represent the minority’s wishes, not the rest of Sullivan County’s 78,000 year-round residents.
“If it is to be shut down, the impact will be felt by all of Sullivan County,” he pointed out, worrying about increased taxes and more litter along the streets. “In my opinion and most of the supervisors’, there would be more negatives than positives.”
Instead, he advocated for keeping the landfill open but recycling rather than burying the trash.
The county is still attempting to make its case for the landfill’s expansion with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC’s “issues hearing” is tentatively set to continue in September, after which a state judge is expected to make a decision on where, when, how and if the county can proceed.

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