Statue of Liberty-sized Landfill Predicted to Grow: Here’s Why
Seneca Meadows, the largest landfill in New York state, was set to close in 2025, but its owner – Waste Connections – is seeking approval to fill a 47-acre valley between the landfill’s mounds which would extend its lifespan until 2040. Many local residents have complained about problems caused by the landfill, including odour, truck traffic, dust, and the potential for landfill runoff to contaminate drinking water. The expansion plans have also been met with resistance from environmentalists and businesses, with hundreds signing a letter to the Governor pleading for the halt of the expansion due to concerns over emissions of greenhouse gases like methane.
Seneca Meadows, NY’s Largest Landfill, Seeks Expansion Despite Public Complaints
Rising almost as high as the Statue of Liberty, Seneca Meadows landfill is not easily overlooked. Spanning over 350 acres, this massive heap of garbage is a longstanding issue for locals due to its potent odors and its impact on the environment.
The Texas-based owner, Waste Connections, are seeking approval to fill a 47-acre valley between two of the site’s mounds, a project which will last until 2040 and raise the landfill’s peak by about 70 feet. This will make it one of the tallest man-made structures in upstate New York.
Concerns about the landfill’s impact on air and water quality, as well as the constant truck traffic, have led many residents to oppose this expansion. Despite the backlash, Seneca Falls town supervisor Michael J. Ferrara supports the expansion, arguing that keeping the landfill open makes the company a ‘better neighbor.’
Many environmentalists and local business owners have voiced their opposition to the expansion. In February, hundreds signed a letter to the governor citing concerns about the landfill’s greenhouse gas emissions and the company’s use of campaign funds to influence local politics.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation will review public comments and the company’s final plans over the coming weeks. New York’s ambitious climate plan may complicate the landfill’s expansion.
As the city continues to truck rubbish upstate, Sandy Nurse, a city councilwoman from Brooklyn who sponsored several waste management bills, supports closing Seneca Meadows. “We just toss it out and think it goes away and it doesn’t,” Nurse said.
Waste Connections has been active in the community, offering dozens of jobs and supporting local events. Despite this, many locals argue that the stench from the landfill is a significant problem.
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