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For Release: Wednesday, July 12, 2023

DEC Announces Public Hearing to Support Enhanced Environmental Justice-Focused Permit Review Process for Dunn Landfill

Hearings on Permit Applications Scheduled for Aug. 8; Aug. 28 Deadline for Public Comments on Solid Waste and Mined Land Reclamation Permits

Opportunity for Residents of Adjacent Disadvantaged Community to Provide Critical Input on Dunn Landfill Proposal and Impacts

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a public comment hearing to ensure full consideration of potential environmental and environmental justice issues arising from the proposed renewal and modification of the S.A. Dunn Mine and Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill (Dunn Landfill) Solid Waste and Mined Land Reclamation permits. DEC will hold two in-person sessions on Aug. 8, 2023, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., in the auditorium of the Rensselaer Junior/Senior High School to support the enhanced public participation required for this permit review process.

"DEC is committed to ensuring there is an open and transparent process that fully addresses both DEC's and the community's concerns about the Dunn Landfill," said DEC Region 4 Director Anthony Luisi. "Providing opportunities for local residents and stakeholders to review and comment on these applications is critically important in this designated disadvantaged community. DEC encourages community members to attend this public comment hearing and provide comments that DEC experts will consider in the decision-making process prior to issuing a determination on these permit applications. As this process continues, DEC will continue to provide strict oversight of operations at the facility, including regular inspections, to ensure public health and the environment are protected. DEC remains committed to working with the community to address their concerns."

DEC has repeatedly acted (among other enforcement actions) to require Dunn Landfill to further reduce the potential for odors and other off-site impacts. Beyond voluntary actions taken by facility managers, DEC required Dunn to improve the collection of gas, cover waste on a daily basis, and apply for permission to construct a perimeter berm, as well as to establish protocols to help ensure prompt investigations upon receiving reports to a complaint hotline (518-292-0449). Stringent monitoring of the facility continues and DEC will take appropriate action if violations occur.

Public participation is a key part of the State's ongoing permit review process. New York's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) established requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy investments, and protect disadvantaged communities in permitting decisions. The Dunn Landfill is in a census tract both within and bordered by communities designated as disadvantaged based on criteria (leaves DEC website) developed by the Climate Justice Working Group (see the regional map of disadvantaged communities at the Climate Act website) (links leave DEC website). To ensure the permitting process for the Dunn Landfill is consistent with New York State laws, regulations, and policies, specifically, Section 7(3) of the Climate Act and DEC's Commissioner Policy 29 that establishes requirements for certain projects in potential environmental justice areas, DEC is requiring additional opportunities for the potentially impacted community to review and provide input on the facility's permit applications.

In January 2022, S.A. Dunn & Company, LLC submitted applications to renew and modify its DEC solid waste and mined land reclamation permits. The requested modification relates to the proposed construction of a new mechanically stabilized earthen berm along the northern and northeast perimeter of the landfill. The current Solid Waste and Mined Land Reclamation permits for the Dunn facility expired in July 2022 and are administratively extended pursuant to Section 401(2) of the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA) pending DEC's ongoing review of the renewal applications. To date, Dunn Landfill has complied with the SAPA requirements for an automatic administrative extension of the permits while the renewal applications continue to be reviewed.

S.A. Dunn's first public information meeting on the applications to renew and modify the Solid Waste and Mined Land Reclamation permits was held on June 14, 2022, consistent with DEC's Commissioner Policy 29, Environmental Justice and Permitting. The meeting was held both virtually and in-person at Rensselaer Junior/Senior High School. Meeting details are available in the Public Information Meeting Notice (PDF).

On Aug. 26, 2022, DEC received S.A. Dunn's responses (PDF) to the public's questions and comments made at the June meeting. In response to concerns raised by the community, DEC requested and received a transcript of the June 14, 2022, Public Information Meeting (PDF) from S.A. Dunn.

DEC reviewed these materials and the permit application submissions and determined a sufficient amount of information was provided by the facility to determine the applications complete enough to be made available for public review and comment. A Notice of Complete Application and Notice of Legislative Public Comment Hearing will be issued in the Environmental Notice Bulletin on July 12, which commences a 45-day public comment period that will run concurrently with the public comment hearing on Aug. 8. DEC has not made a determination on the proposed permit modification or renewal and will closely review all comments submitted prior to the next steps, which may include asking for more information from the applicant or making a decision on the permit applications.

Written comments may be submitted to or to Kate Kornak, Regional Permit Administrator, DEC Region 4, 1130 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12306. All electronically submitted comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. All written comments submitted by mail must be postmarked by Monday, Aug. 28, 2023.

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