Local environmental groups oppose proposed waste plant near Prattsville
Andrea Macko reports for Porcupine Soup that local environmental groups continue to oppose a proposal for a biofuels plant along Route 23 across the Schoharie Creek from Prattsville from the Yonkers-based Hughes Energy. The proposed 115,000-square-foot, seven-story “organic waste high-speed composting facility” would turn food waste and other types of garbage into biofuel pellets. But the activist groups Catskill Mountainkeeper, Riverkeeper, and the new citizen coalition group Don’t Trash the Catskills, say it is not good for the environment. According to Catskill Mountainkeeper: “Waste-to-energy proposals are rarely a good thing; they’re usually false solutions to our state’s waste problem, creating as much, if not more, pollution than they’re claiming to address.” Hughes says the facility would require 25,000 gallons of water per day from private, on-site wells. They are seeking permission to connect into the Town of Prattsville’s wastewater treatment plant for about 4,800 gallons of industrial wastewater and 1,100 gallons of sanitary wastewater daily. The proposed industrial plant would be located less than 2,000 feet from the Schoharie Reservoir. “Industrial wastewater produced at the facility is planned to be discharged into the Schoharie Creek via the Prattsville Wastewater Treatment Plant, which likely will not be able to remove all of the chemicals from the wastewater,” Riverkeeper officials say. Hughes Energy estimates 101 vehicles per day will access the facility, including 42 semi-trailers hauling municipal solid waste on local roads from a 50-mile radius. The facility will be open 24 hours a day, and seven days a week, with waste hauled in six days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wes Gillingham, co-founder and the program director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, asked the community what they thought of all that at a public forum in Grand Gorge this week. “You guys are the experts, you shouldn’t be relying on Catskill Mountainkeeper, Riverkeeper, some lawyer from Albany, or wherever,” he said. “You guys are the experts in your community… you know the landscape, you know the people here, you know the traffic, the issues that will affect you.” Read more about this story at Porcupine Soup.