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Town says trust the process, but residents don’t buy it

May 7, 2019 10:01 pm

Dozens of people attended a meeting Saturday organized by environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper to develop a strategy for protesting and stopping a proposed ash landfill in the Catskill hamlet of Smith’s Landing.

Then the people learn that almost three months ago, Catskill Town Supervisor Doreen Davis wrote a letter in support of the project if it passes state review.

This is not a sellout by the town, but it demonstrates the need to get the people of Catskill, including the elected officials, on the same page about this issue.

“This use of land at Peckham Industries could replace a significant loss of business in the Town of Catskill’s industrial corridor,” Davis wrote. “A new industry to replace the previous presence of cement plants would be a welcome addition to our community.”

The town has not changed its position since the letter was written on Feb. 7, Davis said Monday.

“The town’s position remains that we await the process and review from the DEC where this project has been under review since 2016,” Davis said. “Please keep in mind that no application has been made to the town or approval granted at any level.”

But opposition to the proposal by Wheelabrator is mounting. The grassroots campaign against it includes such environmental heavyweights as former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Judith Enck and David Walker, a local geologist.

We realize the need for business to replace what has been lost along the shores of the Hudson River, but we don’t know that an ash landfill is the “welcome addition” that Davis called it in her letter. Before Wheelabrator’s ash landfill proposal becomes a war of words or, worse, a test of wills, the town and landfill foes should work together to get all the facts.