City pushes for landfill

In an effort to keep a city landfill up and running for as long as possible, the city of Albany presented another plan to expand the Rapp Road dump around the Pine Bush Preserve.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, General Services Commissioner Bill Bruce unveiled a plan to expand the Rapp Road landfill eastward into land owned by the state.

The city of Albany recently dropped a controversial plan to expand west into dedicated land in the Pine Bush Preserve. The new proposal would add to the landfill between 2.7 acres and 6.2 acres of land acquired by the state in 2000 after it gave a developer 19 acres in the Harriman State Office Building Campus in exchange for 45.8 acres of Pine Bush land.

This is the city's third landfill expansion proposal in a year.

Earlier in the year, the City Council decided not to remove the dedicated status of up to 12 acres of land in the Pine Bush Preserve to expand the dump, which is rapidly running out of space.

This is a much better alternative, said Christopher Hawver, executive director of the Albany Pine Bush Commission. "It is great? No. Is it better? Absolutely."

Unlike the last proposal, the land that would be taken is not dedicated to the Pine Bush as "forever wild."

"It is considered protected, but it is not dedicated to the preserve," Hawver said.

One of the objections to the last plan was that removing the dedicated status of any land in the Pine Bush could result in a slippery slope leading to further expansion of the dump into the environmentally protected area.

"That was, in my opinion, a really bad precedent to set forth," said Hawver.

Although it never ended up happening, an announcement from Gov. George Pataki's office following the 2000 land swap deal said "the Pine Bush parcel, which borders Rapp Road, will be dedicated to the existing Pine Bush Preserve."

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