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Referendum on Coeymans Clean Air Law rejected

Jan 21, 2021 2:30 pm

Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Capital Region Independent Media a petition signed by 254 Coeymans residents asking the Clean Air Law amendments be put to a public vote has been rejected. The petition, submitted on December 22, asked that a permissive referendum be held giving voters the chance to have a say on the amendments to the law that were adopted unanimously by the town board in November. The Clean Air Law, adopted in 2019 under the previous administration, limited the amount of waste that can be burned in the town to 25 tons per day. It tasked the town code enforcement office with monitoring air emissions. Current town officials argue the town did not have the equipment or the expertise to monitor air emissions. There were also concerns that a legal challenge in Maryland to a similar law in Baltimore could lead to costly court challenges to the Coeymans law. The Lafarge Cement Plant, which has a permit to burn tires to generate tire-derived fuel promised to take legal action to pursue all options to protect its permit. “People do not want dangerous toxins from the incineration of solid waste of any kind — tires, tire-derived fuel, AFFF or anything other than coal or other fossil fuels burned in cement kilns as an alternative to increase profits for multinational businesses and others who will benefit from this substitution,” Christine Primomo, an opponent of the amendments, said. The petition drew broad support across the political spectrum, with 51 percent of those who signed it registered Republicans, Conservatives, Independents or voters unaffiliated with a political party, Primomo said. The petition was rejected by Town Clerk Cindy Rowzee after she determined it to be invalid. “As the decision of whether or not a petition is valid rests solely on the town clerk. Our town attorney, James Peluso, and I discussed the petition at length and consulted town law in order to determine the validity of it," Rowzee said. It was found to be invalid because the local law to amend the Clean Air Law was not subject to permissive referendum, she said. The town board will not consider the petition, Town Supervisor George McHugh confirmed. Primono said, "We want to let the board know that the residents of Coeymans would like the opportunity to vote on these amendments. The board has the power to submit this question to the voters, but it has decided not to do it." Read the full story in The Ravena News-Herald.

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