A gasification plant wouldn’t be a silver bullet to our trash issues, but it is one element of what must be a multifaceted and smart approach to waste management.
It’s pretty easy to place your papers and plastics into their separate bin and wave them goodbye when the collection truck comes along. It’s far less easy (or pleasant) to contemplate the rest of the waste stream, the millions of tons of stuff that stinks up the car as you merge onto the Thruway from Exit 24. Yet we’re on the brink of having our refuse filling up our backyards.
We’d hesitate to label opposition to this facility as NIMBY-ism because there are some very relevant concerns to be had here regardless of where the plant is located. Fortunately, New York State’s nexus of environmental and planning regulations await this process, including the not-so-simple Environmental Impact Statement (like Bethlehem’s Michael Morelli, we find the applicant’s claim the planning process could completed in a year’s time to be wildly optimistic). This will reveal a great deal of important information to not only town planners, but also to residents and interest groups.
In the interim, let’s keep an open but critical mind about what this parcel — the proud home of failed plans for a mixed-use development and recycling plant — might one day become other than an empty field.