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Lawsuits claim landfill violates state Constitution

By: Bennett Loudon//February 2, 2022

Lawsuits claim landfill violates state Constitution

By: Bennett Loudon//February 2, 2022//

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Two lawsuits have been filed by a citizens’ group claiming the continued operation of an eastside landfill violates the New York State Constitution.

The lawsuits were filed in state Supreme Court in Monroe County by Knauf Shaw LLP on behalf of the non-profit organization Fresh Air for the Eastside Inc. (FAFE).

In addition to other claims, the complaints say various issues caused by the operators of High Acres Landfill and the town violates the “Green Amendment” to the state Constitution.

The “Green Amendment,” which was approved by New York voters in November, guarantees that: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

FAFE claims in court papers that the town of Perinton and landfill operators Waste Management of New York LLC (WMNY) violated the right to clean air and a healthful environment by approving a host community agreement (HCA) for the landfill in the towns of Perinton and Macedon.

The lawsuit claims emission of noxious gases and odors from the landfill cause unclean air and an unhealthful environment for its members and the surrounding community.

The suit claims that the approval of the HCA exacerbates those conditions and is contrary to state law and policy, including the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act, and the “Green Amendment.”

The lawsuits also claim that the state of New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the city of New York, and WMNY violated the “Green Amendment” through their combined actions in the management of the landfill.

The suit claims the DEC has failed to enforce applicable laws, regulations and permits against the Landfill.

High Acres is a major dumping site for New York City’s garbage, representing about 90% of all of the waste disposed at the landfill, according to the complaints.

The lawsuit seeks the immediate abatement of the unclean air and unhealthful environment allegedly caused by the defendants.

FAFE has more than 200 members who own property or live near the landfill. The complaints say their lives and properties have been adversely impacted “by persistent, noxious, and offensive odors of garbage … and landfill gas emitted from the landfill over at least the past five years.”

“Petitioner’s members are forced to breath unclear air caused by the landfill,” the plaintiff claims.

Property owners who live within a mile of the landfill complain that odors and other adverse impacts caused by the landfill force them to limit use of their yards.

They must “routinely check weather reports and wind direction and speed before planning any outdoor activities for themselves or their children,” according to court papers.

“The odors and impacts have unduly interfered with the quiet enjoyment of their property,” the suit claims.

The landfill is currently operating under a state-issued permit that expires July 8, 2023, and allows Waste Management to accept 3,500 tons of waste daily.

Waste Management has publicly stated that it received about 100 complaints a year and there have been numerous days when over 100 odor complaints were filed, according to the petition.

Attorneys for the town declined to comment. Attorneys for Waste Management did not respond to a request for comment.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035


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