If folks from the around the region — especially in Seneca Falls and Waterloo — were wondering if their message was getting through to Seneca Meadows Landfill and other officials, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
That message: We don’t want more garbage from New York City disposed of here.
How that message was delivered: At jam-packed Seneca Falls Town Board meetings ... in dozens of letters to the editor ... in online forums ... in well-attended protest rallies in Seneca Falls and in Geneva ... even in communications to New York City officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In making the surprising announcement Thursday that the landfill had withdrawn its controversial contract proposal to accept NYC trash by rail instead of truck, officials both from Seneca Meadows locally and from its parent company, Progressive Waste Solutions of Canada, cited the groundswell of local opposition.
“The community has communicated clearly that they do not want containerized waste by rail coming to Seneca Meadows,” Seneca Meadows District Manager Kyle Black said.
“After a thorough evaluation of a number of factors, including local government opposition to the rail hauling of waste to the landfill, the company and its pending merger partner, Waste Connections Inc., believe it can no longer commit to meeting certain terms of the proposed New York City contract,” the Progressive Waste Solutions statement read.
The proposed 20- to 30-year contract would have benefited Seneca Meadows to the tune of $3.3 billion, and though it would have relied on rail transport of the garbage and taken trucks off the road, it would have resulted in more of NYC’s refuse coming to the Finger Lakes: The landfill currently accepts about 1,415 tons of the City’s garbage daily; the so-called “trash train” proposal called for up to 2,495 tons arriving daily.
The guess here is that there were other unannounced reasons behind the contract withdrawal, as well.
Progressive Waste Solutions’ impending merger with Waste Connections of Texas, expected to be finalized soon, may have played a role. Also, less than 24 hours after Seneca Meadows’ announcement, Sonoran Weekly Review — a financial portal for people who specialize in trading and investing — was theorizing that it believed Progressive Waste management “no longer saw the contract as economically viable.”
However, whatever the reason — or reasons — the bottom line is this: The ever-growing mountain of trash in Seneca Falls will not be receiving additional garbage by rail from the Big Apple.
And that is a victory for the people who forced their voices to be heard and for a region that has long been built on agriculture and is increasingly dependent on drawing tourists.