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Civic group continues fight against open-top rail cars in Glendale and Middle Village

Photo courtesy of CURES

As concerns over transporting construction and demolition (C&D) debris via rail through densely populated communities grow, civic groups in Glendale and Middle Village are looking to stop a plan to increase waste operations through local freight lines.

Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) is now looking to the state government to step in and mandate hard lid covers on all waste-by-rail operations in New York State, before allowing any type of increase in waste-by-rail operations.

“We don’t want to breathe in C&D debris,” said Robert Holden, president of Juniper Park Civic Association, a founding partner in the CURES alliance. “We will pressure our local officials to make the necessary changes, to make them change the way they do business, or at least the way they transport waste.”

CURES wants “no expansion of waste-by-rail until NYS can control it, hard lids on all waste-by-rail.” According to the civics group, Tunnel Hill Partners, the non-hazardous solid waste handling company whose railcars travel through the Fresh Pond Railyard in Glendale has hard lid technology currently in use in New York, but it’s not being used in their Long Island facility.

If the state cannot control C&D residuals in open-top railcars, CURES believes that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) should not renew the permit for One World Recycling, a Tunnel Hill Partners operating site, creating more C&D residuals within the communities where the railroad operates.

“Dust, odors, vectors, litter, debris and stormwater runoff that are controlled by NYSDEC at the trash transfer station are dumped into open rail cars and sent into our NYC neighborhoods. These are acknowledged public and community health issues,” said Mary Parisen, chair of CURES. “NYS’s clear duty is to maintain the 370-ton limit for One World, not issue any other permits that increase unsealed waste-by-rail tonnage, and pursue updates to the law that will protect our communities from this unnecessary filth while getting trucks off the road at the same time.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo stated in an email to CURES that NYSDEC reviewed a permit to increase operations at One World Recycling to haul 1,100 tons of waste per day. NYSDEC approved them for a reduced maximum total of 500 to 800 tons per day, with the requirement of lids for certain odor-emitting waste, which does not cover C&D residuals.

“CURES is strongly opposed to increasing daily tonnage at Tunnel Hill Partner’s One World Recycling facility,” Parisen wrote in a letter dated June 9 to Joseph Martens, NYSDEC Commissioner. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we and other citizens bore up under increased freight rail burdens because it was a public emergency. For Tunnel Hill Partners to take advantage, to permanently increase tonnage on a site that is inappropriately small and otherwise ill-equipped, is shameful.”

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