Raising Brookhaven landfill height
Newsday May 9, 2012
By SOPHIA CHANG
The prospect of growing the Brookhaven landfill drew
scores of passionate residents and union members to
a packed town board meeting, where they argued over
Supervisor Mark Lesko's proposal to raise the dump's
height by 50 feet to take in more waste and more
money for the town.
Lesko has proposed making the landfill 320 feet tall
to generate an additional $120 million in net
revenue for the town, which relies on the $45
million in yearly income from the landfill in
Yaphank. Neighbors complain about dust and debris
coming from the facility, and some blame the
landfill for health problems.
While the official proposal sponsored by Councilman
Timothy Mazzei was only to grant the town permission
to ask the state Department of Environmental
Conservation about raising the landfill height and
to accept 10 percent more waste for the next three
years -- and not a vote on raising the height -- the
meeting was filled with pleas to consider the
quality of life of the landfill's neighbors.
"Shame on you," said resident Georgette Grier-Key to
loud applause and cheers. "You try to have a
barbecue with the stench of the dump."
Kathleen Scheibel, a member of the Brookhaven
Community Coalition, said the board shouldn't
consider the landfill "an either or situation."
"It's not either higher taxes or a higher landfill,"
she said, and urged the board to consider three
years of accelerated intake to make more money and
fill up the original landfill faster without
Union members argued a taller landfill would help
the town's finances and prevent layoffs. "For that
50 feet, we can save the equivalent of 30 to 40 town
jobs," landfill employee Charlie Churchio said to
applause from fellow union members.
The proposal passed 6-1, with Councilwoman Connie
Kepert said the landfill's negative effects would
hurt more people if the facility were allowed to
grow taller. "As the height grows, more and more
residents are impacted," she said. Kepert
asked the board to agree to a vote on any further
action after the DEC decision.
The board -- with the exception of Mazzei -- voted
in favor of Kepert's idea. He voted against it.