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Town of Galen v. DEC

Lead Agency Dispute

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Commissioner's Determination of Lead Agency
under Article 8 of the
Environmental Conservation Law

PROJECT: Designation of lead agency for the proposed Municipal Solid Waste, Construction and Demolition (C&D) debris and recyclable waste landfill in the Town of Galen, Wayne County

DISPUTING AGENCIES:

  • Town of Galen
    Region 8 Office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

This decision to designate the Region 8 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as lead agency for the conduct of an environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process is made pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law and 6 NYCRR Part 617. I find that the potential impacts of the proposed action are more regional than local in nature and that DEC has the broadest governmental powers for investigating these impacts.

This lead agency dispute involves the application by Land Com, Inc. to construct and operate a 107-acre landfill which could receive 900 tons per day of municipal solid waste, 200 tons per day of C&D debris and 100 tons per day of recyclable waste.

In resolving a dispute about lead agency, I am guided by the three criteria listed in order of importance in 6 NYCRR Part 617.6(e)(5). These are: whether the anticipated impacts are primarily of local, regional or statewide significance; which agency has the broadest powers for investigation of potential impacts; and which agency has the greatest ability to provide a thorough environmental assessment of the proposed action.

In consideration of the first criterion, the Town contends that the impacts are primarily local because the landfill will be located wholly within the Town. The DEC Region 8 staff contends that based on the size of the landfill and the quantity of wastes to be disposed there, the impacts associated with the project will be regional if not statewide in nature. DEC staff has identified the following potential impacts and areas of concern resulting from this project:

  • Impacts on and from the old Galen-Lyons landfill site. The proposed site includes the Old Galen-Lyons landfill which is currently being closed under a DEC consent order.
  • Impacts to the groundwater/aquifer. The DEC Region 8 staff is concerned about potential impacts to the aquifer due to its close proximity to the landfill.
  • Other impacts from solid waste management and traffic may be felt well outside the Town of Galen. Routing outside the Town may become a major issue. The siting criteria and study required by DEC will require evaluation of alternatives beyond the Town's border.

In consideration of the second criterion, the Town's jurisdiction is limited to Local Law No. 88-2 entitled "Solid Waste Management and Disposal Law of the Town of Galen." DEC has comprehensive authority under 6NYCRR Part 360 (solid waste management regulations) to review all issues relating to solid waste disposal, some of which may affect areas beyond the borders of the Town. Therefore, DEC has the broadest powers to investigate any and all potential impacts.

In consideration of the third criterion, Department staff is very familiar with the landfill site due to proximity to the old landfill which is under a DEC consent order requiring closure. Department staff has been studying the environmental impacts related to the operation and closure of the old landfill since 1989.

I conclude, based on all the facts presented, that DEC Region 8 should be lead agency for review under SEQR for the proposed landfill in the town of Galen, Wayne County, because the potential impacts are regional in nature and their assessment falls primarily within the regulatory powers of the DEC.

This decision does not in any manner limit the jurisdiction of any of the involved agencies or minimize their responsibilities to review this action and to assist DEC in the environmental review under SEQR. The Town as an involved agency should actively participate in the scoping for the EIS and provide DEC with the necessary information to adequately address local concerns.

/s/
Langdon Marsh, Acting Commissioner
Dated: March 18, 1994
Albany, New York

Distribution of Copies:

  • Peter Bush, Director, Region 8 Office, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 274 East Avon Lima Road, Avon, NY 14414-9519
    Cody B. Bartlette, Attorney, 50 East Main Street, Wolcott, NY 14590
    William L. Heitzenrater, Land Com, Inc., 6101 Robinson Road, Lockport, NY 14094

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:

  • Acting Commissioner Marsh
    R. Cross
    M. Gerstman
    K. Martens
    L. Concra
    J. Sama
    J. Stallmer
    A. Butkas
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