Teamwork gets it done

This is in regards to the Seneca County General Health District’s notice of intent to deny the renewal of Sunny Farms Landfill’s operating licence.

First off, it is my belief that there are two reasons area residents were successful in taking a significant step forward at the SCGHD meeting Thursday. The first reason is the obvious gravity of the situation in regards to Sunny Farms and the devastating effect that it has imposed upon this entire region. The second reason is the countless hours of effort put forth by some truly remarkable people who have effectively drug the horrors associated with Sunny Farms out into the open. The preliminary decision rendered Thursday simply would not have happened if it wasn’t for the existence of a library of research and documentation. I cannot thank everyone who made this happen enough. In addition, my sincere appreciation also extends out to every member of the SCGHD board who, despite not being forced to reside under Sunny Farm’s noxious umbrella on a day-in, day-out basis, still were able to recognize that the situation in regards to Sunny Farms is utterly unacceptable.

I think it is safe to say that we all would like to collect our Super Bowl rings and then return back to our homes which should now be free from noxious gases, threats from leachate and an infinite volume of litter. However, the truth is that we have, at best, only qualified for the playoffs. Going forward, Sunny Farms remains operational, almost as normal from its skewered perspective. Despite the health board’s most recent decision, the deck is still stacked against local residents. Tunnel Hill Partners is a $280 million conglomerate and thus has access to an army of attorneys. Attorneys fully capable of reshaping existing law into something akin to a pretzel. On the other hand, Sunny Farm’s case does have some points of weakness. The most obvious is the reality of the situation. To the point a judge or hearing officer is able to fully grasp the enormity of the given situation, the management of Sunny Farms might border on criminal liability. Another Sunny Farms weakness might be uncovered in Tunnel Hill Partners/Sunny Farms Landfill statements. How about this one? There is no reason for the health district to not renew the operating license of Sunny Farms. Or, how about the source of complaints may be originating from other sources? As if local residents are not intelligent enough to realize whether they have a dead cow laying out in their driveway or are simply incapable of determining wind direction. That level of condescension probably does not serve the interests of Sunny Farms extremely well.

Just as Tunnel Hill Partners has its strengths, so do the neighbors of Sunny Farms. For what it may be worth, I would much prefer to be enjoined into battle shoulder to shoulder with a multitude of people who genuinely care about the welfare of everyone living anywhere near ground zero versus an army of million-dollar lawyers. So I say this to Tunnel Hill Partners/Sunny Farms landfill. Go ahead, file your legal motions. In fact, hit us with your best shot. But don’t expect us to go away.

Karl Walters,