They’re not giving up the fight.
The leader of a coalition aimed at changing the way waste is shipped by rail through Glendale and Middle Village urged residents at Thursday’s Juniper Park Civic Association meeting in Middle Village to join them in their cause.
Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), informed those in attendance at Our Lady of Hope School of the group’s efforts to convince state lawmakers to ensure that any train cars carrying waste through local rail lines are capped to prevent residents from being exposed to dust and foul odors.
“We have now been working very hard on this issue, asking our electeds to push back hard, and [on Wednesday] we got a new answer,” Parisen said. “And the answer is, I don’t think we need to convince the state anymore that it has to be done. They have come and said, ‘We are going to entertain some type of closure for these rail cars.’”
Parisen explained that One World Recycling, a partner company in Tunnel Hill Partners whose rail cars travel through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale and Middle Village, plans to ship bales of household waste in container cars topped with construction and demolition (C&D) debris. This combination of trash would then be considered municipal solid waste (MSW) and would be covered with a lid.
“If it’s just construction and demolition debris, which is what we see, there’s not going to be any sort of a seal,” Parisen said.
The community has until July 10 to comment on the One World Recycling permit while it is still in the draft stage.
Another partner in Tunnel Hill Partners, Coastal Distribution, wants to try three different options of covering their waste. They have a permit in the draft stage, which states that the options include using a synthetic tarp cover, a mineral spray or a flexible lid, according to Parisen.
“What they want to do is give them the permit, and then test this out, test each one of these options out and have our communities be the guinea pigs,” Parisen explained. “What CURES has been advocating from the very beginning is the total sealing of all rail cars containing any sort of waste. So this is totally unacceptable. We are not guinea pigs. None of this is going to seal odors, or dust, or prohibit vectors.”
Parisen urged the community to call and write letters to Joseph Martens, commissioner of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), informing him that they will not accept anything less than hard lid coverage on all types of waste traveling in rail cars.