Stop Landfill Expansion into Finger Lakes

Target: Ontario County Board of Supervisors

Goal: To protect Ontario County’s Finger Lakes from landfill growth and water runoff dumping.

In upstate New York, there is a popular tourist site known as the Finger Lakes. These lakes derive their name from the long narrow shapes that they have carved into the New York landscape. While there are 11 lakes altogether, the two longest and most well-known are Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, which also rate among the deepest in the nation (with Seneca Lake reaching as deep as 618 feet).

Sadly, these lakes are being threatened by a Texas landfill company known as Casella Waste Management. Years ago Ontario County leased its landfill to this company in order to save money by reducing operating expenses. Casella agreed to run the landfill but in exchange sought out garbage imports from as far away as Canada–allowing truckers to dump the imported garbage into Casella-operated landfills such as the one in Ontario County. Now these imports have put the landfill at risk for drastically exceeding capacity.

Rather than decrease the amount of garbage being imported as they should, Casella now seeks the permission of Ontario County to expand the dump and allow an even greater intake of imported refuse. As part of this increase to the landfill’s capacity Casella also intends to dump water runoff (known as leachate) into Seneca Lake.

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors is strongly considering allowing Casella to proceed in this fashion, attempting to justify the decision by stating that the money Casella pays to the county makes the expansion worthwhile. What they do not understand is that the region would likely lose money in the long term by virtue of lost tourism dollars when the area no longer has its pristine beauty to appeal to travelers. It is for both this reason, and simply for the protection of a wonderful environmental resource, that the landfill expansion in Ontario County cannot be allowed to happen.


Dear Members of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors,

The Finger Lakes are perhaps Ontario County’s greatest tourism resource. A popular destination for visitors, they are comprised of eleven long slender lakes, their shape akin to outstretched fingers. The largest and most well known of these, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, also rate among the deepest lakes within the United States at up to 618 feet deep.

Unfortunately the Texas based landfill management company known as Casella Waste Management, which has been tasked with the care of Ontario’s county landfill, now represents a significant threat to these lakes. When Casella agreed to the lease of this landfill in order to help the county save on operating expenses, it did so with the idea of profiteering by importing garbage from as far away as Canada and depositing it within the landfills the company manages (such as the one in Ontario County). As a result of this importation landfills like the one in Ontario County are now reaching the inevitable point where they are exceeding capacity. In lieu of reducing garbage imports to rectify this situation, Casella is now seeking to simply expand the landfill. Not only does the company wish to expand, but it also intends to dump its water runoff (known as leachate) into Seneca Lake.

This is completely unacceptable. Attempting to justify it by stating that the money Casella pays is worthwhile makes for a faulty argument. When the expanded landfill begins to sap tourism due to these pristine lakes becoming sullied with refuse and runoff, then the county will witness far more revenue loss then can be recuperated by Casella. Even if the county were to manage some small profit margin, it does not justify the degradation of a national environmental treasure. Protect the Finger Lakes and block any attempts by Casella Waste Management to expand its operation. Do this now before it is too late.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. This is all very well, and I have signed, but where is rubbish to go? We must recycle, which means we must STOP producing ANY nonrecyclable materials. The only ‘reason’ they are still produced is big businesses ‘insistance’/assistance to political finances/’lobbying’?! Also, the UK made recycling compulsory. After a while, people got to like it. Then, the UK found it ‘cost too much’, and stopped it! The public protested, and the government claimed to relent, but since then, has mixed recyled waste back together again, when collecting it, and no-one really knows what they’re doing with it. We must recycle. But how?!

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