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WCSC Postpones NIR Decision

November 17, 2005

This afternoon I attended a meeting of the Westchester Solid Waste Commission at which the application of Northeast Interstate railways for a County license was on the agenda. In attendance from Croton, were Mayor Schmidt, Trustee Kane, Village Attorney Stecich and myself. The Mayor of Mt. Kisco and County Legislator-elect Bill Burton also attended.

Chairman McShane recounted the Sept. meeting which ended with a request from the commission for additional materials and comments and was postponed until today. All the Commission members had received all of the new input in preparation for today’s meeting. In addition, Attorney Stecich provided a last minute letter dated today in which she indicated that more information of violations at Sunny Farms Landfill, a Regus-owned entity in Ohio, might be forthcoming in about two-weeks. The information came from the Ohio EPA and Bruce Berger, Executive Director of the WSWS also called the person indicated in Ms. Stecich’s letter to get more information.

Mr. Berger summarized the information received to date and made the staff recommendation to grant the license. In the ensuing discussion, questions were asked by the Commission members about the various allegations of problems at sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. One member said that the WSWC’s mission was primarily to assess the character, criminal background or mob influence on principals of companies seeking licenses. The others seemed to agree but all were willing to look beyond that to include environmental compliance problems at other sites owned by the applicant. Mr. McShane said that three principals of NIR had been approved by the NYC Business Integrity Commission and the granting of the license would “not be the end of our oversight but the beginning”.

The issue of requiring an environmental monitor was discussed and whether they could require one. All members appeared to agree that this would be a good idea. Mr. Berger said that this would be helpful to the WSWC in the future in assessing any future violations occurred as to the facts and their seriousness. He also stated during the meeting that the problems his staff has investigated did not rise to the level that the commission should deny a license, especially if an environmental monitor was to be required. There was also discussion of how a license could be revoked if new information showed a high level of serious violations.

At this point it seemed that the WSWC was prepared to vote for the license with the environmental monitor condition. Commissioner Larry Schwartz then suggested that it would be better to delay once more until the information supplied today by Attorney Stecich could be verified. He also recognized that the Commission must act in a timely way and cannot keep putting off voting on an application. He suggested that the three weeks between today and the next meeting on December 15th be the final period whereby any further information on the situation at Sunny Farms Landfill be provided and that, no matter whether it was or wasn’t, a vote would be taken on that date. The Commission members agreed to adjourn the matter until December 15th pending any further information from the Ohio EPA by that point in time.

— Ann Gallelli


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