On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., the Albany County Legislature met to receive Public Comment on the Albany County Proposed Local Law 1 of 2019, a Law to Establish Clean Air Standards for Waste-Burning Facilities in the County of Albany.
So-called Resolution No. 407 of the Albany County Legislature, a proposed local law of the County of Albany, New York, to establish Clean Air Standards for Waste-Burning Facilities in the County of Albany, was introduced by Albany County Legislators R. N. Touchette (37th) and Douglas A. Bullock (7th). The Resolution was passed to the Law and Conservation, Sustainability, and Green Initiatives Committees on September 9, 2019. It received favorable recommendation by the Albany County Legislature Law Committee on October 28, 2019, and was adopted by unanimous vote on November 12, 2019. The Legislature opened the proposed law for public comment on November 19, 2019.
We urge each and every Albany County Legislator to Vote YES! and to PASS the Albany County Clean Air Standards Law LL 1-2019!
A unanimous vote will mean that the Albany County Legislature and its member Legislators are of one mind and one voice when it comes to the health and well-being of the people and future of Albany County, and neighboring counties.
The Albany County Legislative Chamber was standing-room only, and a number of public interest groups appeared and commented in support of the proposed law. Of approximately 30 speakers, only two spoke against the law: Coeymans Town Councilman, Daniel Baker and Dave Fletcher, manager of the Ravena-Coeymans Lafarge plant. Each of the some 28 speakers in favor of the law received loud applause in support of their comments. The silence was deafening when Baker and Fletcher finished, and had to return to their seats amid silent rejection and stares of rebuff. The public made their point: Overwhelming support for the proposed law and total rejection of the fakes who appeared to misinform the public about their plans to poison the air we breath.
Nearly all of the comments voiced strong support for the proposed law, which is closely modeled on the Town of Coeymans Clean Air Law passed by the Coeymans Town Board this year (2019) against the fierce opposition by Lafarge and Carver Companies. Many of the comments made by speakers at the hearing praised Coeymans for the Clean Air Act and strongly encouraged the County Legislature to pass the law. Several speakers expressed their concern that the recent elections in Coeymans were a troubling precedent that money from big industry and business interests could influence the election of public officials as happened in Coeymans this November 5th.
The majority of speakers were from Albany County with a small number representing environmental groups, including a past regional executive director of the Department of Environmental Conservation, who strongly supported the law.
We are publishing the text of the comment made by a local resident at the hearing. This text was provided to the County Legislature in its full version (reproduced below); due to the 2-minute time limit imposed for commments, a shortened version was read at the hearing. The full version was, however, provided “for the record.”
The majority of the public comments were completely in line with the comment below; the only exceptions being the references to specific local Coeymans conditions and the examples citing local personalities.
Concerning the Proposed Local Law No. 1-2019
Local Law of the County of Albany, New York
Clean Air Standards for Waste-Burning Facilities
Albany County Legislature
November 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Touchette, Mr. Bullock, Honorable Legislators, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for this opportunity to comment publicly on this important proposed law in the interest of the public’s health and welfare.
Pollutants, contaminants, toxins are no respecters of county lines or municipal boundaries; pollution does not discriminate and is highly democratic; Just as the sun shines, the rain falls, the winds blow equally indiscrimately and democratically. What happens in Albany County will inevitably and irrevocably affect all sourrounding areas and regions, including those across the Hudson, in Rensselaer and Columbia Counties, if not beyond.
At least one recent local political campaign in the Town of Coeymans is evidence pure and absolute that government must step in where corporate responsibility, partisan politics, and business avarice falls short of safeguarding and ensuring the public weal.
In 2019, the Town Board of Coeymans passed Local Law 1-2019, the Clean Air Law, a law made necessary by the indifference of local industry the welfare of the surrounding communities. The intent of the Clean Air Law was regulate burning or related processing of waste. The Clean Air Law met with fierce and intense opposition led by LafargeHolcim, Carver Companies, and others, most notably by Coeymans supervisor-elect Mr. George McHugh and his supporters, who represented the interests of corporations like Lafarge and Carver Companies, the Port of Coeymans, and Coeymans Industrial Park. George McHugh and his supporters had and continue to have financial interests in all of those businesses. All of those businesses have been and continue to be generators or processors of hazardous materials, and have been cited for abuses of state and federal regulations in the subject matter of the environment and contamination.
Simply put: Industry and business interests, and their beneficiaries cannot be trusted to self-regulate. That is made abundantly clear by the opposition against the Coeymans Clean Air. Regrettably, however, McHugh and his minions skipped over facts to promote disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, and outright deception in order to garner voter support. It is no credit to the democratic process of a representative democracy that the majority of voters, rather than inform themselves, allowed themselves to be misinformed.
Two real examples will serve to buttress all of my points:
Upon reliable information, in fact upon the report of a sitting Coeymans Town Board member, Mr. Daniel Baker, LafargeHolcim was notified by DEC in advance of DEC emissions audits, which allowed Lafarge to switch from coal fuel to gas fuel, to ensure that emissions were significantly reduced when DEC performed their testing. That is not what regulation is about.
A second example is again reported by a reliable source, another sitting member of the Coeymans Town Board, Mr. Kenneth Burns, who reported that on the day after the elections, supervisor-elect McHugh, together with councilmen-elect Collins and Lefevre met with Lafarge hierarchy allegedly to discuss changes to the Coeymans Clean Air Law, changes that will apparently benefit industry not residents.
Why the opposition and why the meetings? Because in 1992, Coeymans passed the Solid Waste Law, which prohibited the transport of solid waste generated in the state of New York into the Town of Coeymans. In the meantime, Lafarge had attempted to circumvent that prohibition by secretly negotiating with entities in the state of Connecticut to transport waste from Connecticut facilities, including tires, for processing at the Coeymans Lafarge plant. Furthermore, between 1992-2018, Coeymans successfully prevented the creation of a landfills in Coeymans, and the current Crandall administration was instrumental in working with the City of Albany and the DEC to create from the wetlands which were earmarked by Mr. McHugh’s client, Carver Companies, for a landfill, a wildlife preserve.
The Coeymans Clean Air Law, which is substantively and substantially similar to the bill presently under consideration by your body, prohibited processing of more than 25 tons of waste in any 24-hour period, and further imposed continuous monitoring, real-time reporting, and adequately safe emissions limits. Mr. McHugh’s clients are not overly enamored with processing limits, monitoring, especially continuous and real time, much less with making that information available online to the public. Perish the thought of such impertinence and such an invasion of corporate autonomy and greed!
Please note for the record that according to reliable information, LafargeHolcim, for example, would have to process at 100-150 tons of tires, for example, for the process to be “economically feasible,” for them, but they would not be able to meet the emissions standards.
Hence the opposition by Mr. McHugh and his clients to the Clean Air Law; hence their opposition to any clean air law.
The conflicts and contradictions of our real-life example of Coeymans, McHugh, Lafarge, Carver Companies are real, current, and very relevant.
The Albany Times Union has run a number of articles on McHugh, his relationships, and on Carver Companies and their frequent conflicts with the DEC. Time does not permit me to go into detail but I would like to refer you to one particular article by Ms Laruen Stanforth, which appeared in the May 13, 2019 issue of the Times Union, and was entitled, “Is Coeymans Candidate too Close to Port Owner?” The answer is YES! And the reasons pointed out by Ms Stanforth are nothing less than shocking.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I feel my point is made that corporations, industry, businesses, and their puppets cannot be trusted with self-regulation, and that their interests conflict with those of the public and with the public’s health and well-being. Unless our elected representatives bite the bullet and recall that they are public servants, not the servants of the captains of industry, and unless our elected officials and public servants take a non-partisan, uninterested stand on issues that affect the health and welfare not only of their own constituencies but also of communities far beyond our own county lines, unscrupulous greedy business will poison our air, our water, our soil, and most egregiously harm us and our children for generations to come.
This body must recognize this real and imminent threat to us all and pass this county-wide law to establish clean air standards for waste-burning facilities, and make Albany county the poster-child for progressive efforts aimed at the public’s continuing health. To do anything less would be to join the rank and file of the indifferent corporate mindset, and fly in the face of your duties and obligations to the public.
Thank you for your attention.
 The Stanforth article is available at https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Is-Coeymans-candidate-too-close-to-port-owner-13828887.php.
It bears repeating that the vast majority of the comments made by the speakers reflected the thoughts shared in the comment above. It also bears repeating that the attendees at the hearing showed their rejection and disapproval of Daniel Baker and Dave Fletcher’s pitiful presentations against the proposed law.
Our impression is that Albany County will soon have a Clean Air Standards law regulating waste-burning facilities in Albany County. That law is almost word-for-word the Coeymans Clean Air Law passed by Town Supervisor Phil Crandall and the Coeymans Town Board under Crandall’s leadership.
The entire County of Albany has come forward in support of the Clean Air Law!
We can only say that Coeymans voters made fools of themselves and singled the Town out as being a complete loss to the corruption of the Comeback Team and their prostitution of themselves and the Town of Coeymans to the money and interests of Lafarge, Carver, and McHugh. The entire County of Albany has come forward in support of the very law so fiercely and deceptively opposed by George McHugh, Zachary Collins, Brendan Lefevre, Kenneth Burns, and to his devastating embarrassment, Daniel Baker, Dave Fletcher (Lafarge). McHugh and his masters would have to either accept or kill the Coeymans Clean Air Law; at the very least, they’d have to try to dilute it to the point of uselessness. But now Albany County has come forth and rejected McHugh and his masters; Albany County want’s clean air; Coeymans wants to be controlled by Lafarge and Carver Companies. When Albany County passes the Clean Air Law, McHugh and his masters are dead in the water; floaters like the turds they are! That may explain the interesting natural symbolism that Coeymans is at the very bottom of the County, and Ravena is almost off the map! Even on a map Coeymans seems to be a bottom-feeder, thanks to scoundrels like McHugh, his puppets, Daniel Baker, Kenneth Burns, LafargeHolcim, Carver Laraway, Billy Biers, and their mob.
Editor’s Comment: It is important for us all to recognize the fact that it was the voters of the Town of Coeymans, not the People of the Town of Coeymans who made the decisions on November 5, 2019. It is important to note that it was the supporters of the scandalous Comeback Team led by George McHugh and the neonazis of the Friends of Coeymans, Jeff Laquire, Nate Boomer, and Chris Hagen, and the intimidation and bullying and thuggery that they used at Coeymans town meetings that kept most voters at home on Election Day. It was the thuggery, bullying, and intimidation by the Comeback Team under George McHugh’s direction and with the money and support of destroyers-of-communities like Lafarge and Carver Laraway, and traitors, Judases like McHugh, Collins, Lefevre, Baker, and Burns, and those who support them, who have made Coeymans the subject of derision and mockery AGAIN. Shame AGAIN on Coeymans!
Bought and Paid For like Common Prostitutes!
The Coeymans Supervisor, George McHugh, and the Coeymans Town Board, Daniel Baker, Kenneth Burns, Zachary Collins, and Brendan Lefevre were not elected, they were bought and paid for like common prostitutes, by LafargeHolcim, Carver Companies (Carver Laraway, Port of Coeymans, Coeymans Industrial Park), and supported by neonazi-like groups like the Friends of Coeymans. Bought and Paid For like Common Prostitutes!