Scores of residents and business owners living within smelling distance of the city of Albany's landfill attended a public meeting last week to speak against the city's plan to expand it.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation held a scoping and public comment session Wednesday, Feb. 21, regarding the draft environmental impact statement of the landfill's proposed expansion into 15 acres of the protected Pine Bush Preserve.
Local environmental advocacy organizations Save the Pine Bush and Citizens Environmental Coalition have joined with residents and local municipalities to prevent the dump from expanding into the ecologically rare pine barren and also urge Albany to control the odor wafting from the existing landfill, which can sometimes be smelled miles away.
Opponents of the expansion gathered at the Polish Community Center on Washington Avenue Extension, many carrying signs that simply read No in bold, black letters.
Albany has been the focus of DEC consent orders in recent months and has seen thousands of dollars in fines because of the stink. Nearby residents, who have been at odds with the city for more than two years, contend that the odor is worse than ever.
Lynne Jackson, a volunteer with Save the Pine Bush, said she resented a specific part of the DEIS, which reads: "Odor control has been an issue for residents in the past."
"I think the people in this room will tell you that the odor problem is in the present," she said.
And throughout the night, many did.
Village of Colonie resident Eve Spector said she has a problem with expanding the dump when the smell is already an issue.
"I've been experiencing a problem with the stench of the dump for many years," said Spector. "It doesn't make any sense to me why you want to expand when what you already have stinks."