Law change for solid waste facilities

Goshen /
| 21 May 2024 | 11:56

    Those of you who moved to Goshen in the last 20 or 30 years may be unaware of the fact that more than 300 acres in our town is comprised of solid waste landfills and garbage transfer stations. The landfills (Al Turi and Orange County) are located off Route 17M. They have been closed and will forever continue to pollute our environment by leaching toxic chemicals into our ground water, the Wallkill River, and its tributaries. As part of their closure negotiated by the DEC, only limited activities can take place on these properties which have test wells to monitor the levels of heavy metals, toxins and equipment to extract methane, a byproduct of waste decomposition. Since the 80s Goshen has enacted laws forbidding the location of any new solid waste management, aka dumping facilities, within the town.

    The supervisor of the town has recently introduced a new local law that would simply erase the existing law and again allow solid waste management facilities in the town of Goshen. Yes, you read that correctly — anyone with the requisite number of acres can now apply to the town for a permit to open a solid waste management facility — at the discretion of the Goshen Town Board. Anyone have any large undeveloped lots near them? You have cause to worry. Our supervisor, who is a principal in the Hughes company with a solid waste management proposal currently in front of the planning board, is the push behind the new law. If something smells funny here it’s not just the garbage transfer station at the site of the old landfills. Once you approve one permit you cannot deny others at your “discretion.” Can you just imagine the lawsuits? The supervisor has stated that he wants to increase revenue for Goshen. Another idea of his was to purchase polluted wells from the city of Middletown in order to “make money” for the town. Thank goodness the town board stopped him. Those who don’t remember history are condemned to repeat it!

    Our town board should act immediately to protect its residents by voting no on Local Law 1 of 2024 Amending Chapter 80-B (“Solid Waste Management”) and Chapter 97 (“Zoning”). Several members of the town board have served many years with distinction; I hope they conclude this local law is not the legacy they want to leave Goshen. The public hearing is scheduled for June 6th at Town Hall.

    Alanna M. Smith