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Activists blast landfill expansion

A public hearing has been scheduled to discuss the potential expansion of the Albany City landfill, and local environmental advocates are speaking out against it, calling it a money-making scheme.

The City of Albany landfill could spread into unprotected land of the Pine Bush Preserve, but city officials say it is planning to restore some wetlands to mitigate the effect of an expansion.

The project calls for the expansion of the existing landfill on Rapp Road in Guilderland, into city-owned lands to the east, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, the organization overseeing the potential expansion.

A public hearing slated for Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Polish Community Center has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 3.

The expansion could extend the life of the landfill for more than six years, according to the DEC environmental notice bulletin, filed Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Some environmental advocates oppose the expansion, citing it as unsound.

Lynne Jackson a representative of Save the Pine Bush, an advocacy group opposing the expansion, penned a letter to the DEC on behalf of the organization.

She said people need more time to study the proposal. Jackson said there are at least 5,000 pages of documents related to the landfill.

She emphasized the importance of the Pine Bush Preserve, saying it represents one of only 20 inland pine barren ecosystems.

"Our little Pine Bush is a very special place," Jackson said.

She said the DEC determined that the landfill should not expand any further after its 1991 expansion. Since then, she said, it has already expanded twice, and this could be the third. The last expansion was in February 1999.

The Save the Pine Bush organization was involved in a lawsuit to prevent that expansion, although it was unsuccessful.

Constant expansion of the landfill does not encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle, Jackson said. She also said the landfill's last expansion was supposed to last until 2015.

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