Environmental groups may have sidelined a New Hampshire-based company's proposal to create an incinerator ash dump at a quarry in Catskill, New York.
Environmental and community groups have been urging Catskill's elected officials to reject a proposal by Portsmouth-based Wheelabrator Technologies to create an ash dump at an abandoned quarry on U.S. Route 9W in the Greene County town.
Former E.P.A. Regional Administrator Judith Enck: "About three years ago, the giant incinerator company Wheelabrator approached the town of Catskill with a proposal to bring in 445,000 tons of toxic incinerator ash every year to be dumped in an old quarry in Catskill, half a mile from the Hudson River. And it wasn't until about three months ago that the residents of the Hudson Valley learned about this proposal, and when they did they almost instantly mobilized to oppose this every dangerous environmental proposal. We were quite concerned that the incinerator ash would contaminate groundwater, eventually find its way into the Hudson River, and be a real blight on the Hudson Valley landscape. Wheelabrator wanted to operate this dump for 48 years."
Riverkeeper Director of Advocacy and Engagement Jessica Roff says activists got word late Friday that Wheelabrator was withdrawing its proposal. "We are still waiting on confirmation from Wheelabrator, they were not available for comment to the media and haven't yet filed comments or pulled their actual interest from the Department of Environmental Conservation, so we're obviously cautiously optimistically awaiting final word from Wheelabrator to confirm the fact that they will in fact not proceed with trying to build a toxic ash dump in Catskill."
Columbia-Greene Media quoted Village Trustee Joseph Kozloski, who said Wheelabrator representatives told him they were no longer interested in the site. Enck says she spoke with village president Vince Seeley. "We happened to have had a community meeting on Friday night, which is all like happening in real time, and I asked him 'so what's your confidence level that they're actually really going away,' and he said '98 percent.'"
According to Columbia-Greene, Seeley said a letter from Wheelabrator declaring its intention to withdraw the Catskill plan is pending, and added Town Supervisor Doreen Davis promised to share confirmation on the town website.
A DEC official could not confirm Monday that Wheelabrator has pulled out.
Catskill Town Supervisor Davis and Wheelabrator did not respond to requests for comment.
UPDATE: Supervisor Davis emailed WAMC an update on Tuesday morning:
"The town has issued two statements which are posted on our website.