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DEC denies latest effort for landfill in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Agency won’t let company piggyback on Waste Management’s permit from 2003

File photo by Tom Rivers – This photo from last July shows the former McKenna and Orleans Sanitary landfills next to the Erie Canal in Albion, between Densmore and Transit roads. The photo was taken from the Transit Road bridge looking west.

ALBION – In 2003, the state Department of Environmental Conservation approved a permit for Waste Management of New York to operate a new 78-acre landfill in Albion.

Waste Management completed a costly and grueling process to get approval from the DEC. However, the company never gained a permit from the town and wasn’t able to get started on the new landfill.

The state permit drew the notice of landfill operator Richard Penfold of Orchard Park. He has worked in recent years to try to take ownership of the site and have the state permit transferred to his new company, Albion Recycling & Recovery LLC.

On Wednesday, the DEC decided Penfold didn’t have “the legal capacity” to renew the permit originally approved for Waste Management, according to a letter on April 9 to town officials from Scott Sheeley, the regional permit administrator for the DEC.

Penfold can challenge the DEC’s decision within 30 days. He also can seek his own permit for the site but he would have to start from the beginning with environmental studies for the property. That would be far more costly and time-consuming than simply having the Waste Management permit transferred to his company.

Even if he secures the DEC permit, he still would need approval from the Town Board. The board has been adamant in stating its opposition to additional landfills.

A closed gate near Transit Road blocks access to the McKenna Landfil in this photo from last July. Richard Penfold wants to open a new landfill next to the site.

“I am glad they acted in this way,” Town Supervisor Matt Passarell said about the DEC decision. “We thought the application had some gaps. I hope Mr. Penfold doesn’t pursue litigation with this.”

Penfold has said he would offer the town a host community benefits package that would cut taxes, offer residents free garbage pickup, create jobs and also care for two existing landfills. Passarell and the Town Board aren’t interested in having a new landfill.

The DEC in its letter on Wednesday said Waste Management has never formally relinquished its rights for future options at the landfill. Waste Management received a 10-year permit on Nov. 20, 2003, but that permit expired on Nov. 20, 2013, Sheeley said in his letter.

The DEC said it would consider any new applications for the site. The applicant would still need to ultimately satisfy the Town Board.