WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Landfill Protest Comes to Geneva

May 4, 2016

Protests against plans to extend the permit of the Seneca Meadows Landfill and bring trash by train from New York City came to Geneva over the weekend.

Greg Cotterill | Finger Lakes Public Radio

A crowd of several hundred marchers gathered Saturday morning at the Geneva Recreation Complex. They carried signs and shouted slogans down the Seneca Lakefront on their way to BiCentennial Park in downtown Geneva.

Town of Geneva Supervisor Mark Venuti was among the marchers. He characterized the issue as being one of finding an endpoint for the current landfills.

“So, in Seneca Meadows the trash free in ’23 is a very realistic and doable goal. We’re not going to close them down tomorrow. But, if the message goes out that this is enough, they can make their next $100-million or whatever they make in those years and be ready to close. Same in Ontario County, we’ve got to get to the end.”

Protesters also shouted opposition to bringing trash from outside the Finger Lakes by rail. Where the march crossed the downtown railroad tracks, the protest was met by an individual handing out flyers promoting rail safety.

Deb Najarro identified herself as a rail consultant for Finger Lakes Railway.

“I understand that these folks are protesting against trash and against regional landfills, which I get. They are associating the trash by rail with what is really their problem with landfills. Trash by rail is more eco-friendly. It gets trucks off of the road and it helps save costs for highway repair.”

When the marchers reached BiCentennial Park, one of the first speakers to address the crowed was Greg Lazzaro from the Town of Seneca Falls board of supervisors. He spoke against extending the permit of Seneca Meadows and importing trash from New York City.

“They had a lot of landfills in Brooklyn and Staten Island and all over New York City when I was growing up. They’re all gone now. Where are they sending their trash? They’re sending it up to us. 30 years is enough. We don’t need 20 more years of trash coming to our beautiful, pristine area.”

Protest organizers handed out telephone number encouraging people to contact Governor Cuomo and other politicians.