You Will Not Burn Our Garbage

June 17, 2017

Are Albany County officials seriously considering killing us with a trash incinerator?

I’m not going to mince words or beat around the bush or pull any punches here.  If a garbage burning plant gets built anywhere in Albany County or in the surrounding counties, if then someone takes a rocket launcher to it or packs it full of dynamite or drops a drone laden with C4 explosives on the god damned thing and blows it to Hell where it belongs, and no one gets killed, then I will applaud, proclaim the perpetrator a hero and contribute to that person’s defense fund if caught.

As far as I’m concerned, building a garbage burning plant or incinerator or pyrolysis facility or whatever you want to call it within range of where I live and breathe is a terrorist attack upon my community and upon myself.  We The People have a right to defend ourselves against terrorist attacks.  I don’t care if the terrorists are ideologues, religious fanatics, corporate despoilers or irresponsible politicians, a terrorist is a terrorist.  I have a right to breathe the air without fear of poisoning and so does everyone else.

Day Before Trash Day In My Neighborhood, Holes In Can Lids Are Made By Squirrels Day Before Trash Day In My Neighborhood, Holes In Can Lids Are Made By Squirrels

You might wonder what exactly has got me all riled up and ranting about garbage burners like that.  It seems that the Albany County Legislature is looking at the feasibility of creating a regional solid waste authority, something which other Counties in the State have done with success.  The idea is to share this essential service, instead of each municipality in the County collecting trash and operating a landfill or scrambling to find ways to dispose of their trash the County government will standardize disposal and eventually standardize collection.  Fine.

Last month the County Legislature voted unanimously to update a feasibility study they’d done in 2011 but went nowhere because of non-cooperation by the municipalities, particularly by then mayor Jerry Jennings of Albany who didn’t want to give up control of trash disposal in “His” City.   But current mayor Kathy Sheehan has stated that she wants the City to “get out of the garbage business” and is looking for alternatives, so political opportunities have opened up.  Again, fine.

The big question is what will this new County authority do with the trash it wants to collect for us.  Will it find a new location for a county-wide dump?  Will it look for the cheapest dumps operated outside the region and sign a contract?  Or will the authority do the unthinkable and BURN our garbage?  Pollute our air?  Crap in our nest? Shorten our lives?

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy In My Neighborhood On MLK Day 2016 Albany County Executive Dan McCoy In My Neighborhood On MLK Day 2016

I was sitting and having dinner and reading the Altamont Enterprise, the best news source in this region, which had a big article on the Albany County trash initiative.  According to the article, County executive Dan McCoy indicated that he looks favorably on the idea of a trash authority.  That’s fine too.  But then I read this:

McCoy said that the most successful regional authorities that he is aware of are all in Europe – they include very large recycling centers and generally incinerate waste.  They are closest to what he said is his goal of “seeing zero go back in the ground.” Those facilities, he said, “burn cleaner air than we breathe.”