Landfill developer buoyed by news of state ruling
By RICK MILLER , The Times Herald

The developer of the proposed Farmersville landfill said a state ruling in his favor Tuesday means “there will be a landfill in Farmersville.”

William Heitzenrater, president of Southern Tier Waste Services, the parent company of Integrated Waste Services, said, “We won.”

He told The Times Herald today the denial by the state Department of Environmental Conservation of a request to reopen the conceptual review process means, “There will be a landfill in Farmersville as long as it is designed to DEC standards.”

Tuesday’s decision by Assistant DEC Commissioner Louis A. Alexander denied the request by Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, the city of Olean, Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County and others to reopen the 1996 conceptual review due to new issues.

Mr. Alexander wrote in his decision: “Although the post conceptual review decision does not constitute a permit, it is intended to provide the applicant with a binding decision from the department as to the general acceptability of a proposed project or any component or issue specified, the standards which will be applied to it and desirable design standards.”

Concerned Citizens attorney Gary Abraham of Allegany said the decision “comes as little surprise. More importantly, this decision has no practical effect on the DEC’s review proceedings, which remain adjourned pending further action by IWS.”

The DEC will take no further action, Mr. Abraham said, until IWS submits new applications for a wetlands permit and a discharge permit into Carpenter Brook. “Once IWS does so,” he said, “another public comment period will be scheduled during which anyone may file a petition to intervene as an opponent to the IS proposal.”

He predicted “IWS will still have a long way to go before NYSDEC will consider issuing a permit.”

Mr. Heitzenrater said the request by Chautauqua County and the other parties to reopen the conceptual review hearings because the wetlands at the Route 98 site in Farmersville now exceed the 12.4-acre threshold and become state-regulated wetlands bought opponents a year. Initial site investigations found the wetlands did not exceed 12.4 acres, but DEC revised that after further investigation last year.

“This is a very key decision,” Mr. Heitzenrater said. “Without it, I couldn’t get funding. I think Concerned Citizens will consider it a victory because it delayed us for eight months.”

Mr. Heitzenrater said his next task is to reassemble his landfill team.

“It puts us back at the same point we were during the adjudicatory hearings” last year, he said.

Landfill opponents were able to attack the conceptual review decision after the state reviewed the wetlands areas at the site and found more wetlands than were originally stated, he said.

Concerned Citizens, on the other hand, maintained that if the DEC had known of the existence of state-regulated wetlands earlier, it would have pushed the property off the list of sites in Western New York that IWS was considering for a landfill.

©Bradford Publishing 2005