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Cudequest: Just Plain Wrong

July 8, 2005

Since I am now Ex-Trustee Grant, I am more able to speak freely about the complex issues surrounding MetroEnviro. I no longer have to be concerned about negatively impacting pending litigation.

The court has ruled, let the true facts be considered.

I’m sure Ms. Cudequest believes her assessment of the intricacies of the MetroEnviro saga. She is just plain wrong! She is ill equipped with information to aid her in making responsible assessments. This is unfortunate but true. She was not in attendance at any session where intense discussion and in-depth exploration took place as we worked diligently to protect this village. Her very opinionated position is based on hearsay and assumption and her personal interpretation of complex legal documents. Following is a brief history of the MetroEnviro saga.

Enormous energy was put into preventing any misstep in the record being built to protect the village legally. Closure in 1998 and denial of a special permit was doomed to certain failure in the courts. We needed a defined reason not to approve the permit and we had none. If our decision had been based solely on community opposition there was no chance of having it upheld in a court of law (see Footnote #3 in the recent Court of Appeals decision.) We had no "definitive reason" not to allow the continuance of what had been taking place, totally uncontrolled and unmonitored at the very same site for 50+ years.

Credit goes to Seymour Waldman and Bob Elliottt who immediately started the process of control of that site for the first time. Professional environmental experts guided and worked with a group of residents to form a Citizens committee to oversee the conditions of the permit.

Their mission was to ensure that we'd have control over the new operators of what had for years been a horrendous, dirty, contaminated site. It was clear that a decision to deny a permit to a new operator who gave every indication of working with the village to run a clean operation would be overturned in court. A conscious decision was made to protect the village residents and to keep us out of court unless and until we had solid grounds to go that route.

Despite some very vocal community opposition, our responsibility was to do what we were advised and believed to be in the best long-term interest of the village. The ability to insist on 42+ protective measures on the special permit was additional protection for the village.

Additionally, this permit built a solid legal foundation for cause should MetroEnviro LLC fail to live up to the permit requirements.

They did not. They deliberately and repeatedly betrayed our trust and disregarded their obligation to abide by the agreed upon conditions. As the violations continued to occur and build, the VB was advised to carefully and legally investigate the operation and if it appeared that violations existed, to begin proceedings to close them down based on proven violations and not speculation.

Based on the successful results in the Court of Appeals, this route proved to be the correct one. The decision filed last week by the court is very clear.

Footnote 3: "In this realm, board determinations are not popularity contests and will be set-aside on judicial review when based solely on generalized community opposition. Conversely, if a board determination is based on substantial evidence, it would be perverse for a court to vacate it merely because the community opposed the proposal. Here, where the Board had substantial evidence for its determination, the courts need not look to the role of community opposition to (or support for) the permit renewal."

They did violate the permit, we proved they did, and then and only then were we confident enough of legal victory to order them shut down.

That's why the case was won for Croton residents - because of Waldman and Elliottt's cautious and responsible efforts to make certain the village acted in accordance with established procedures. And because we now had "substantial evidence" to do so!

Well-informed people recognize that we're not finished yet. There will be more to come and the manner in which the new board handles what lies ahead will be critical to final success for the village of Croton.

-- Georgianna Grant, Ex-Trustee


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