Community members of Keep It Greene celebrate news but remain vigilant.
Contact: Diana Abadie, Keep It Greene firstname.lastname@example.org 518-929-7532
On June 15, 2020 Jason Kappel, Director of Technical Services Peckham Industries Inc, wote to Nancy Baker, Regional Permit Administrator, Division of Environmental Permits …”please consider this email notification that Peckham Industries is withdrawing from permitting consideration the project known as the Peckham Catskill Berm Project. The economic climate is not right at this time for Peckham to consider furthering this project.”
Back in October of 2019, the DEC received an application from Peckham Industries, Inc., the owner of a portion of the former Holcim Cement Plant in the Town of Catskill, for a solid waste permit only a few hundred yards from the Hudson River. The permit would allow Peckham to import 600,000 tons (that’s 1.2 billion pounds) of construction and demolition (C&D) debris waste from New York City.
Keep It Greene’s Peckham Action Group, a non-partisan, grassroots, volunteer organization located in Greene County, organized and led the community in an effort to understand the project process in order to push back on the proposal.
“The Peckham berm project was in fact an unlined landfill for construction and demolition waste,” said Dr. Dave Walker, geologist and member of Keep It Greene. “It was supposedly justified in their proposal as a screening device to protect potential viewers from having to see the asphalt plant planned for the old Holcim cement kiln site. It was unclear how a mammoth berm would be a scenic improvement. Peckham has not deemed it necessary to hide their two asphalt plants in Athens. The DEC also found the proposal doubtful. So we welcome Peckham’s withdrawal of the proposal in response to the DEC finding that the application was incomplete.”
“There is no such thing as clean fill,” stated Diana Abadie, another key member of Keep It Greene. “Lead, asbestos and other toxic compounds are often laced into the waste. Duck Cove is an environmentally sensitive area. Indubitably, toxic leachate would enter the Hudson risking the sensitive ecosystems that support the fish and wildlife in the river and its wetlands and estuaries. We love you New York City, but we won’t allow you to dump your waste on the banks of the Hudson RIver”.
The project had the potential to adversely impact Germantown residents’ view-shed and significantly increase ambient noise. Kaare Christian, President, Roe Jan Watershed Community weighed in on the news, “The Roe Jan Watershed Community is pleased to see the end of this project. Like many other environmental groups in the valley, we’re working hard to make things better. Shipping C&D debris to Catskill, defacing and polluting a beautiful stretch of the Hudson, to a site easily visible from the mouth of the Roe Jan, was a terrible idea.” Robert Beaury, Supervisor Germatown added, “This is another important moment for our River communities. Many thanks to Keep it Greene and its consulting experts for keeping stakeholders educated and engaged.”
“This is great news for everyone who cares about a clean Hudson River and a clean Hudson Valley,” said Judith Enck, Former EPA Regional Administrator and founder of Beyond Plastics. “Last year, people power resulted in the Wheeleabator incinerator ash dump being rejected and now we have the good news that the dreadful proposal to put massive amounts of construction and demolition debris on the shoreline of the Hudson River has been abandoned. Please, no more damaging proposals like this. Let’s put legal mechanisms in place to protect the Hudson river shoreline.”
“Thanks to the vigilance of the local community, we learned about Wheelabrator’s toxic ash landfill proposal and the recent application for a C& D processing and transfer facility on the Hudson in the Village of Athens,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “We supported the community’s hard work to stop these dangerous proposals, none of which would have advanced community or environmental objectives. We are thrilled by the news that the applicant withdrew its permit application.”