Cohocton Wind Watch: Here's a place for turbines: The landfill
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Monday, October 12, 2009

Here's a place for turbines: The landfill

As the final resting place for everything from the meatloaf your kids refused to eat to sewer sludge and industrial waste, it’s no wonder landfills get a bad rap. But until we stop producing waste, as one area group — the Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition — hopes, they’re needed.

While performing a necessary — if unpleasant — task, the operators of the Ontario County landfill have come up with a plan that would make a positive contribution to the community and the environment.

Casella Waste Systems wants to put up wind turbines and solar panels at the landfill in Seneca.

They’re proposed as part of a renewable energy plant that would generate electricity by harnessing the sun’s rays and wind. Proponents say the electricity could be sold to a power company and used to power the landfill’s buildings and nearby homes and businesses.

Such projects often carry a hefty price tag, and this is one is no exception — its estimated cost is about $13 million. But what makes it appealing in this case is that, under the plan, county residents wouldn’t have to foot the bill.

Casella and a partnering business, Innovative Energy of Genesee County, are hoping to land $6.5 million in federal stimulus funds to pay for half the project. The remainder would be paid for by the two companies.

Sure, stimulus money ultimately comes from our pockets, but if it is to be doled out toward such ventures, better to have it be one that will benefit local residents — in more ways than one.

The sale of electricity could mean more revenue for Ontario County. The added income could mean infrastructure improvements, revenue-generating tourism projects or reduced taxes. The latter would be welcomed since — despite its bounty of sales-tax revenue from Eastview Mall and its environs — Ontario County ranked 15th among counties nationwide for high property taxes.

“It is very exciting,” said Canandaigua city Supervisor David Baker, who heads up the county’s Solid Waste Committee. “(We’re) trying to be creative — create another revenue stream and work with partners to use the property to put more than just trash there.”

Indeed. It’s a positive any time businesses find ways to protect the environment and conserve fossil fuels, especially without passing the cost on to customers or taxpayers.

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