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COLONIE: Locals look at legal action

"It's a dirty, nauseating, obnoxious odor. Sometimes its more like garbage, sometimes its more like gas," said Rapp, 51. Her family once used some of the landfill property and neighboring areas for farming. The road is named after her family's plot.

She has lived within a quarter-mile of the landfill off and on her throughout her residency in the outskirts of the city.

"The smell has never been as bad as it has been the last five years. The last three years have been the worse," she said.

Rapp said she can barely stand the odor as she gardens. She will sign on to the suit to stop the expansion and odor.

The suit is not about the money; it is a last stand to try to do something, she said.

The "gas" odor Rapp spoke of has been the cause of many calls to village and town emergency crews. People suspect natural gas leaks, said Jack Ridick, chief of the village fire department. The response is as often as two to three times a month, he said. Each time, 25 to 30 men accompany National Grid employees and Colonie inspectors to survey the sites. Each trip can cost as much as $400 to $500 for his department, he added.

DeCottis and Leak informed residents that they would open discussions with the town of Colonie and Save the Pine Bush to explore the hiring of a private environmental firm to monitor the air in and around the landfill.

With such data and hundreds of complaints, those willing to sign on to take legal action against the city should have a chance in court, said Henner.

Henner will take compensation for his case only if the suit wins in the courts, he said. To assure their best chances in court, Henner said that Buffalo attorney Richard J. Lippes will sit in on the case.

Lippes is a high-profile environmental attorney who has represented plaintiffs in such cases as Love Canal and Three Mile Island.

"I'm hoping that village of Colonie residents will join us and sue the city of Albany. You should not have to live like this. You should not have to live with this stench," said Save the Pine Bush volunteer Lynne Jackson.""

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