On September 2, 2005, Westchester County Executive candidate Rob Astorino, Republican, held a press conference marking the closing of the Metro Enviro waste transfer station in Croton-on-Hudson. Not all members of the board were invited to attend. As reported in a recent Letter to the Editor, by Georgianna Grant, Trustee Jim Steinberg indicated that “because Rob Astorino is a Republican candidate, the Democratic trustees were not informed”.
(Download Quicktime movie, 2.9 mb, 1:53)
Both Dr. Mayor Greg Schmidt and Trustee Jim Steinberg recently pledged a “united effort” and a “unified front” with regards the evolving developments concerning Metro Enviro during the Village Board of Trustees Meeting held on Monday, August 15th (partial video transcript and Astorino press release follow).
Schmidt: …”This has to be a united effort and I think the board, the board, its not a matter of what I think, the board is entirely behind this fight”…
Steinberg: …”The goal here is as a united front. The Mayor gave his acknowledgements to members of this board for what they did in the course of the last 10 days… So, the doubt to the resolve of this board when it relates to this issue should not, should not occur”…
Full Press Release from Rob Astorino, Thursday, September 01, 2005 at 13:16
Astorino Pledges Fight Against Metro-Enviro
Astorino Joins Croton’s Fight Against Metro-Enviro. Candidate demands corporate accountability, defends home-rule
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. — Standing alongside Mayor Greg Schmidt and Village Trustee Jim Steinberg, County Legislator and candidate for county executive Rob Astorino spoke out today on the controversial Metro-Enviro Waste Transfer Facility in Croton, issuing a clear directive to the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) in Washington, D.C., saying “the people of Croton have said ‘No’ to the Metro-Enviro waste transfer facility and their will must be respected.”
The STB is presently considering an application for special exemption from Northeast Interchange Railway, a prospective buyer of the Metro-Enviro facility, which would exempt the company from all state and local regulation.
Astorino, who spoke on the same day a State Supreme Court order will force Allied—the present owner of the Metro-Enviro facility—to cease its operations by 5 p.m., defined the issue as one of local home-rule and of corporate accountability.
“In effect, Northeast Interchange is asking the federal government to absolve it of all accountability and responsibility to local government and we cannot let that happen,” explained Astorino. “Unaccountable corporations can be as dangerous as unaccountable leaders. As representatives of local interest, we must stand up and protect village and county residents, sending a message to Northeast Interchange that the people of Westchester, especially here in Croton, demand accountability from their corporate citizens.”
The legislator also defended Croton’s on-going battle, pledging his support on the home-rule issue.
“Make no mistake; this is a clear case of home-rule,” Astorino continued. “Since 1998, the residents of Croton have made it clear—both through their elected officials and in the courts—that they don’t want Metro-Enviro to continue its solid waste operations within their village. I’m here to join the people of Croton in their battle.”
As a candidate for county executive, Astorino also defended the jurisdiction of Westchester County’s Solid Waste Commission over the Metro-Enviro site.
“Westchester County’s Solid Waste Commission, which is charged with the responsibility of stamping out organized crime among the carting industry, has jurisdiction over the Metro-Enviro transfer site and must stand with the Village in refusing to abdicate that jurisdiction,” said Astorino. “I want to be clear: I’m not suggesting that there is any sort of racketeering operation here either on the part of Allied—the present owner, or Northeast Interchange—the prospective owner. But if the STB grants Northeast Interchange a special exemption, then Westchester County’s Solid Waste Commission will no longer have the ability to monitor this facility.”
Astorino concluded by congratulating Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Steinberg for their successful effort to date in trying to close the Metro-Enviro facility. “These two men have done an excellent job. But the fight is not yet over. The STB, just like the courts, must mind the will of the people of Croton.”