City pushes for landfill

When the state acquired the 45.8 acres, then executive director of the Albany Pine Bush Commission, Willie Janeway, said, "The expansion greatly enhances our efforts to protect this unique and endangered environment."

"Someone appears to have forgotten," said Lynne Jackson of Save the Pine Bush, an environmental group. "I feel betrayed."

As it stands now, city officials suspect the dump could be filled by 2009. The hope is the current expansion would add an additional seven or eight years to the life of the landfill.

Jackson said she thinks the city needs to stop expanding the landfill and make an effort to find alternatives.

"They cannot keep taking land out of the preserve," said Jackson, who said the city needs to re-evaluate and take a proactive approach in its garbage collection methods to reduce the amount of waste dumped in the landfill each year. Jackson said she recognizes that if Albany reduces the amount of garbage it hauls, city coffers would suffer.

"We need a rational approach to solid waste and a method for the city to make up the revenue they'll lose not being in the garbage business," said Jackson.

The city earns about 10 percent of its annual income from trash-hauling revenue generated by dumping in the landfill.

Jackson suggested executing additional land swaps " giving city land in exchange for pieces of Pine Bush preserve owned by commercial business " that would ultimately increase commercial tax bases within the city. She also said the city could encourage the revitalization of downtown areas through realistic, low-interest loans to buyers that in turn could repopulate vacant properties in the city. Another of Jackson's ideas was using renewable sources of power such as solar, wind or tidal to reduce its dependence on traditional power.

"What bothers me," said Jackson, "is that the city is not being proactive about this problem."

The Albany Common Council added an amendment to a resolution passed in the spring ensuring that this would be the last expansion at the Rapp Road location.

The amendment does not satisfy Jackson, who said the council had made similar proclamations in the past.

"The city simply breaks its promises," said Jackson.

Hawver said the Pine Bush Commission would work with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the city of Albany in the hope that this would be the final expansion of the landfill.""

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