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Activists rail against landfill expansion

The Village of Colonie will hold a public hearing Wednesday, April 22, to discuss the expansion of the Rapp Road Landfill that is being planned by the City of Albany.

The city intends to use a portion of the Pine Bush Preserve, located in Albany County, for the expansion, however, the plan also includes the restoration of other parts of the preserve.

Residents and environmental organizations attended a Monday, April 20, press conference to voice their concerns about the landfill expansion infringing on the fragile Pine Bush ecosystem, and ask New York State Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone questions about the wildlife at the preserve.

Among the organizations at the press conference were Save the Pine Bush and the Sierra Club.

Lynn Jackson, a volunteer with Save the Pine Bush, said the organization does not approve of the expansion plans for the landfill.

Save the Pine Bush does not believe that the [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] and other officials really understand the consequences of this expansion for the residents, Jackson said.

She said those consequences include the stink of the landfill, respiratory problems, water pollution, public health effects, toxic fumes, quality-of-life issues, declining property values, and the loss of more pine barrens habitat.

"We don't have to have a landfill " there are other solutions to our issue," she said. "We don't have to have a lot of garbage. We spend a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy to create these objects, only to throw them out."

Village of Colonie Mayor Frank Leak spoke about the numerous complaints he has received over the years from residents who live near the landfill.

"Many back yards have been rendered useless because of the smell," said Leak. "[We have] residents who cannot open their windows in the summer because of the odor."

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