Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 28, 2012

GUEST VIEW: Covanta railroading Falls residents?

Niagara Gazette — In the past, Niagara Falls residents have been deprived of influence over their city’s destiny by flawed agreements. Among them, Niagara Falls Redevelopment and casino gaming contracts.

Now, some local officials would welcome rail shipments of New York City waste to the city of Niagara Falls.

On Dec. 12, the city approved rail access to Covanta’s incineration operation. This approval becomes final if the New York State Deptartment of Environmental Conservation also approves rail access.

Only Covanta’s Newark, N.J. incineration of New York City garbage rivals what is proposed for Niagara Falls.

Is the potential of becoming New York City’s garbage destination an issue important enough for residents to understand? Before that door opens, instead of after?

More Than Our

Share of Waste:

Niagara County is already the No. 1 destination for waste disposal in New York.

Covanta Niagara is currently the second largest waste incineration facility of ten operating in New York state. It can burn up to 825,000 tons of waste each year.

Despite corporate-wide performance of 10 percent, last year, a whopping 23 percent or 186,000 tons of the medical, industrial and municipal waste burned at Covanta Niagara was buried in Niagara Falls and Lewiston landfills.

Rail access would bring us waste from much longer distances, drive up our own disposal costs, and further an already dismal recycling rate in New York City that is half the national average.

Covanta already operates landfills and transfer stations throughout the Northeast, that if ever permitted here, would bring thousands more trucks.

IDA Hearing,

Jan. 4 at City Hall

Covanta has applied to the Niagara County IDA for an $8 million 15-year tax break essentially for three projects:

Project No. 1: Rail access. Absent substantiating numbers, Covanta asserts that New York City garbage by rail will replace Toronto garbage coming here by truck. However, Toronto trucks will decline, regardless, due to a new Covanta incinerator in Ontario.

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