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Activists rail against landfill expansion

Leak also warned the crowd that "the decision of the DEC looms closer," and that Wednesday's public hearing will be the last chance for the village to make its views known.

While many Colonie and Guilderland residents have complained about the odor of the landfill for a number of years, a number of residents also expressed concerns about the animals that live near the landfill.

Grace Nichols, a representative of Save the Pine Bush, spoke of research she had conducted that indicates the Karner blue butterfly " which is listed as an endangered species and has made a habitat in the Pine Bush " is at risk because of the pesticides that are being sprayed at the landfill to keep flies from surrounding the garbage.

Nichols also said that several other animals found in the Pine Bush, including coyotes and great horned owls, were discovered to have measurable levels of Brodifacoum, a pesticide used to kill rodents, in their livers.

"It's time for New York state to ban Brodifacoum," Nichols said.

Stone reiterated the dangers pesticides pose to the many species that have built their homes at the Pine Bush.

"With Grace's work, [and] looking at our data, it indicates that pesticides could well be a problem," he said, blaming their use on the declining Karner blue population. "I had anticipated that the Karner blue would be in better shape than it is right now."

Stone said he has not had a chance to dissect a Karner blue that has died in the Pine Bush to determine whether pesticides were the cause of death, although a Freedom of Information Law request made by Stone revealed that pesticides have been used at the landfill.

Stone did not know the decrease in population size of the Karner blue in recent years, though he did say it was "tremendous."

One conference attendee asked Stone what would be lost if the Karner blue went extinct.

"It's the symbol of the ecology of the Pine Bush," replied Stone.

He said that in order to keep the ecology going, what is left of the Karner Blue population needs to be preserved.

The public hearing about the Rapp Road Landfill Expansion will be held at the Village of Colonie Family Recreation Center, 2 Thunder Road in Colonie, on Wednesday, April 22, at 7 p.m.

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