New York benefits from the PA Marcellus in a very minor way–we sell a few hotel rooms, and a few restaurant meals to workers passing through. About the only way we tangibly benefit from PA shale is by accepting drilling cuttings in a few of our landfills. Yet antis want to take that away too.
Just over the border from Binghamton, NY in Susquehanna County, PA, the shale industry has spent on the order of $10 billion in the past 10 years–between signing bonuses, royalty payments, salaries and wages for shale workers, and supplies and materials purchased locally. You read that right–at least $10 billion in 10 years. One county. But not a peep is said in Binghamton media about this economic bonanza.
One of the few ways NY benefits economically is by accepting drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling holes in the ground) in specially regulated landfills. There’s only a few. One of them is the Chemung County Landfill in Elmira (see NY Anti Drillers Apoplectic Over Soil in Chemung Co. Landfill).
Another is the C & D Hakes Landfill in Painted Post, NY (next town over from Elmira, located in Steuben County). The Hakes Landfill wants to expand from 60 to 80 acres, to accept more drill cuttings. Yet the radical Sierra Club is trying to block it, falsely claiming such cuttings are radioactive and will fry everyone and everything that comes close.
The Sierra Club won’t be happy until there’s no one left living in Upstate NY–which is rapidly happening.
The Campbell Town Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a zoning change that would allow for a proposed expansion of a local landfill, a move several environmental groups and residents are opposing.
Hakes C&D Disposal Inc. submitted permit applications to the Town of Campbell and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to expand its landfill at 4376 Manning Ridge Road from just under 60 acres to 80 acres.
Hakes also is proposing to add a 22.4-acre soil borrow area at the same site for construction and cover materials.
The town board was asked to change the zoning in the affected area to nonresidential planned development to pave the way for the expansion.
Residents in the vicinity are concerned about a variety of issues, including noise, traffic congestion and odors, along with concerns about possible radioactivity from Marcellus shale drill cuttings.
Three environmental groups — the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Concerned Citizens of Allegany County Inc. and People for a Healthy Environment Inc. — filed a comment letter with the town on behalf of residents.
“The town has plenty of time to study the radioactivity issues presented by the landfill’s leachate test results before the expansion project can proceed, because DEC, the lead agency on the project, says it will delay issuing its findings statement on the FSEIS (Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) until it issues the necessary permits, and it has not yet received the permit applications,” said Kate Bartholomew, chair of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “This means that there is no urgency to the requested zoning approval.”
Leachate test results provide strong evidence of extremely high levels of radon gas in the Hakes landfill, Bartholomew said.
Documents filed by the town with the DEC do not rebut the evidence of intermittently high radon levels in the leachate samples, she said.
In addition, the groups claim the town’s own host agreement with Hakes prohibits dumping radioactive waste at the landfill.
“It is imperative that further investigation be undertaken as to why the leachate test results of the two landfills in New York taking the greatest volume of drill cuttings from gas drilling operations in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania show intermittently high levels of radon breakdown products,” said Gary McCaslin, president of People for a Healthy Environment.
“For this reason, we urge the town to insist on more testing and analysis of radioactivity in the landfill before approving the rezoning application or issuing a findings statement on the FSEIS,” McCaslin said.
Hakes is owned by Casella Waste Systems, the same company that operates the Chemung County Landfill.
Casella was aware of possible radioactivity of oil and gas cuttings from Marcellus shale drilling and hired consultants to study the issue, Vice President Larry Shilling said when the issue came up last year.
The study found no reason for serious concern, Shilling said at the time.
“With all the issues, in 2010 we installed radiation detectors, built for truck scales, the largest detector we could get that would work,” he said. “Since then, from waste brought to the landfill, the detectors have never gone off.”*
The Sierra Club doesn’t want the Campbell Town Board to approve the zoning change using the excuse the DEC hasn’t approved it yet, so there’s no hurry. To which we say, if the DEC hasn’t approved it and you think they will deny it, why does it matter if Campbell goes ahead and approves the zoning change now? The landfill won’t be able to expand unless/until the DEC, corrupted by Andrew Cuomo, gives its fickle blessing. So what’s the big deal Sierra Club? Why wait?
The bottom line here is that radiation detectors were installed long ago at all of these landfills, and they’ve never (to date) gone off. Which exposes the lie pedaled by the Sierra Club and other Big Green groups that drill cuttings are radioactive.
*Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette (Feb 25, 2019) – Campbell to hold public hearing on controversial landfill expansion
In a sad post-script to this story, we also happened to notice a second story today mentioning the Elmira area, where these landfills are located. All but two of the major metropolitan areas across the U.S. are now officially out of a recession. All but two are once again growing since the bottom fell out of the market in 2008. Elmira is one of the two metro areas still in a recession and losing ground. See: Elmira, New York, Danville, Illinois Struggle Amid US Boom. And yet the Sierra Club wants to deny this landfill the right to expand and make more money for the region.
As we’ve said for the past few years (after hearing Cabot’s George Stark say it): You never see the Sierra Club creating jobs. They only destroy jobs.
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