Special Protection for the Environment of the County of Sullivan

August 23, 2015
by S.P.E.C.S.

Columbia Hill Tomorrow.


We will be in Hurleyville tomorrow from 11-4 attending the Friend-raiser! SPECS …special protection of the Environment for Sullivan County will be there as well raising $ to test the water of various places in the Town of Fallsburg. We will be testing for herbicide/pesticide and septic residue in local streams and rivers and ponds.Please come by and support us!! Great music, free rides, free honey tasting!! Freshly harvested today in Livingston Manor Come by Honeybee Herbs and get your free honey stick. Relieves allergy problems, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory….see ya tomorrow!

June 11, 2014
by S.P.E.C.S.

Why Were We Against Calpine?

Why Were We Against Calpine?
We successfully fought the Calpine gas-fired power plant in Monticello last summer, but public misunderstandings still exist because of the Calpine Corporation’s misrepresentation of the project. We were opposed to building a large, fossil fuel-burning power plant in a residential neighborhood, where no heavy industry presently exists: Gas fired plants may pollute less than coal fired plants but they still pollute. The 30 acre Calpine plant would have been built directly near homes and day care centers, and within a mile of the Cooke Elementary School, a future senior citizens’ housing complex, and the Somerville Athletic Field. That is simply too close to where people live, work. and play to be a safe, healthy project. Much of what troubled us came from Calpine’ s own 78 page “Critical Issues Assessment” report made available to a county official, which discussed all aspects of the project in detail. The information in this report was quite different from that Calpine told the public.

  • project emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide would likely be above major source thresholds” and “possible” for volatile organics. The project would also be “subject to review” for levels of sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid mist, and particulate matter (These pollutants are all harmful to human health, especially to children and the elderly). (pg.4, 23,24,25).
  • Calpine could have “offset” emission levels of nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds by trading ERC (emission reduction credits) with facilities as far away as Connecticut and Pennsylvania (pg. 5, 25,27). (Trading or buying scheme designed to reduce overall regional air quality. It often does not help local air quality, and could make it worse.)
  • The Cooke Elementary School was labeled a “sensitive receptor” on a map A sensitive receptor is a population or location particularly affected by pollution. (The Calpine Corporation knew that children might.be hurt by their emmissions).
  • On-site storage of hazardous anhydrous ammonia would be required, and a worse case release analysis may indicate potential health impacts at the property (Pg. 27 ,28) (Any accidental spill would have required a rapid emergency response and evacuation.)
  • There would be smokestacks, which could exceed 200 feet above the existing ground (pg. 10,11,12,13,30,61)
  •  Calpine would have needed to connect to the Marcy South electrical transmission line bringing high voltage power lines and substations close to homes, and requiring additional rights of way for electrical interconnection~p.10,21). (lt’s suspected high voltage electromagnetic rays increase cancer risks. Right of way issues put property at risk.)

Calpine would have brought NO real “benefits” to Sullivan County:

Myth #1: “Calpine would have helped get rid of the smell at the landfill by burning the landfill’s methane gas. ”
Reality: Calpine was never going to utilize methane gas from the landfill. It was to be powered by natural gas that would reach the plant through a massive underground pipeline.

Myth #2: “Calpine would have brought jobs to the area”
Reality: There might have been construction Jobs, but many would have been for specialized workers who build power plants for a living. Once built, Calpine would only employ about 25 workers, of which 23 would be highly trained technicians Calpine would bring in.

Myth #3: “We’re going to need more electrical power in Sullivan County”.
Reality: Calpine was not going to supply power to us, it was to go downstate.

Myth #4: “The gas line would help me save money. I could convert from oil heat to gas:”
Reality: The gas line would haye been built to serve Calpine, not residences. Gas pipelines primarily serve the heavy industrial sector. A gas pipeline near peoples homes is unsafe because underground pipes can potentially explode from corrosion that goes undetected.

Myth #5: “A multi million dollar project like Calpine would really boost our tax base.”
Reality: Calpine would probably never pay their fair share of taxes. When requested to so during the Wawayanda Article X proceedings in neighboring Orange County, “the applicant opposes these proposals because it asserts a due process right to challenge future assessments … ” (NYS Board on Electrical Generating Siting and the Environment, 2/19/02, pg.23-24). Even though Calpine would create few or no permanent local jobs, they would have applied for Empire Zone status. It is important also to balance any new tax revenue a power plant might bring, with reduction or loss in residential property tax revenue.

Myth #6: “An Article X proceeding would have answered questions about Calpine.”
Reality: Article X is a siting process, not an exploratory process, if you really want a power plant According to the NYS Public Service Commission, no utility. has ever been denied a permit after the Article X procedure. Once an Article X starts, it is essentially “a done deal.”

June 11, 2014
by S.P.E.C.S.

Landfill Issues

Sullivan County began importing garbage to generate revenue about ten years ago. The plan was supposed to be temporary, but a decade later we are still importing hundreds of thousands of tons of trash each year from out of county.
Many residents are tired of landfill odors, non-stop truck traffic, and the sight of a
growing mountain of garbage on the outskirts of our county seat, near homes and small businesses. SPECS joins numerous residents in their concern about the potential for future air, water, and health impacts from a municipal landfill, no matter how well it is run. Increasing the amount of garbage we take in only seems to increase any possible risks. The EPA claims even the best landfill liners will eventually leak. And the cumulative affect of thousands of households and small businesses disposing of common chemical products in landfills, can make leachate from municipal landfills potentially toxic. Garbage importation has contributed to the life of the landfill being reduced from an estimated 2~ years to less than 8 years! The planned expansion of the landfill will double its present height, eventually rising· 250 feet above ground level behind Apollo Plaza, the
height of a 25 story building! We’re told that without garbage importation property taxes would increase, but by how much? Just to put things in perspective, there are approximately 45,000 homes in Sullivan County. If the landfill provides $3 million in net profits, it would cost each homeowner (not courting businesses) $65 per year, or less, to make up the deficit! That’s
less than 20 cents a day to help protect the health and property values of nearby residents, and ensure the whole county would get to use the landfill for many years. With continued garbage importation, even an expanded landfill could be full before its time, and we will have to pay on a permanent basis to export our own garbage (in 2001, exportation costs were estimated at $1.5 million annually)

Since January nearly 5000 people have· signed a petition asking the county to end this unwise policy.
If you’re interested in signing the petition,
write to SPECS at: PO Box 1515,

Monticello, NY 12701,
or attend our next meeting.

April 24, 2014
by S.P.E.C.S.

Did You Know? – Contributed by Shirley Cohen

 A very simple thing everyone can do which will not cost anything and will save the dump from filling up with plastic is – take a tote bag with you every time you step out to shop or pick up items at various places. You won’t have another plastic bag to store somewhere in your house. Also, don’t throw your used batteries into the garbage, bring them to STAPLES they will recycle them.

SPECS also has an ink jet cartridge recycling program, we will provide you with a postage paid mailing envelope that you can simply place the cartridge into and then drop in a mailbox.

April 24, 2014
by S.P.E.C.S.

County misleads Residents on Landfill Profits

Sullivan County Government recently stated that the debt on the Landfill could reach $40,000,000. The Phase I Landfill will run out of space and close in the next few years, but Sullivan County Residents will be paying the debt on it for years to come. County Officials have been claiming that the landfill was making a 3 to 5 million dollar profit per year, but they failed to account for all of the overhead needed to build, close and monitor the landfill.

So, what’s the County’s solution to make up the lost revenues? Build Phase II!

Do we trust that the County can do better running Phase II?

Can we trust the County not to import trash to make up lost revenues?

As the County brings in more trash, can we trust them to control odors?