The meager response from Albany city officials over odors from its landfill has led environmental advocates and Colonie residents to pool their resources to stop a proposed landfill expansion by hitting the city where its hurts.
Only a fraction of the nearly 300 people at a special meeting at the Village of Colonie's Family Recreational Center on Wednesday, March 14, said they would pursue legal action.
However, most in attendance agreed that the town, village and Save the Pine Bush organization explore options to stop the stink emanating from the city's Rapp Road landfill. The suit will seek to halt a proposed expansion into as many as 6 acres of pine barren lands, outside areas already protected.
Save the Pine Bush, the grassroots organization that has brought suits against developers and municipalities in the past threatening the ecologically rare pine barrens, led the meeting last week.
Environmental attorney Peter Henner, who is representing the organization if and when the suit moves forward, spoke with the audience about their options and if there is a case against Albany.
Living near the landfill or as far as the stink has reached complaints originated from people as far as seven miles east of the site is a quality of life issue, said Henner.
"It's not that it (the landfill) is just expanding into a sensitive area. This is a landfill that is not run properly," said Henner. "It's not fun, to put it mildly, to live next to this landfill."
According to Henner, residents' reasons for concern should be their health and well-being and the financial impact to their property values because of the nauseating odors wafting over them.
Albany has been hit with thousands of dollars in fines from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for poor operations of its landfill.