COLUMBIA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
Post Office Box 507
Ghent, New York 12075
For Immediate Release
March 26, 2009
CONTACT: Christopher Nolan, Chairman, firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 755 5089
The Columbia County Democratic Committee at its monthly meeting last night acknowledged via resolution its strong and continued support for the Town of Copake in its ongoing struggles with long time waste-hauler Salvatore Cascino. "The Committee had a lively discussion that emphasized the importance of protecting the environment and the integrity of farmers and farming in Columbia County and in New York State," said Christopher Nolan, Chairman. The Committee also acknowledged the vital role played by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets in protecting farming and the long established right to farm.
The Committee heard from Copake residents that Mr. Cascino had used his property in Copake to dump DEC prohibited materials and other activities and that the Copake Planning Board had denied his request for approval to build a new structure on the property. A majority of the Committee held that the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets not be manipulated by operators who pose as agricultural enterprises to mask activities which damage the environment and effectively undermine the legitimate efforts of genuine hard working farmers in our communities. The future of farming, the environment, water quality, and public health and safety in the Hudson Valley were deemed at stake and vulnerable by the County Democratic Committee.
The resolution urged the Department to reconsider and reverse their opinion concerning Mr. Cascino, Copake Valley Farms and Bronx Recycling LLC and recognize that the possibility that the proposed structure will not be used for farming.
The Committee also urged Governor Paterson to intervene in this matter on behalf of the Town of Copake and the legitimate farming operations throughout the Hudson Valley and stop repeating illicit practices. "The proposal suggested by NYS Agriculture and Markets that Copake Valley Farms is in fact only a farming operation must be addressed and revaluated," said Cyndy Hall, 1st Vice Chair of CCDC. "If Mr. Cascino is allowed to do this in Copake, all of Columbia County and beyond will be vulnerable. There's a lot of garbage and construction debris in New York City. We don't want it dumped in Copake or anywhere else in Columbia County."
The CCDC resolution continued to request that the Commissioner of NYS Agriculture and Markets review all applications and asks for his intervention to ensure that other operators of solid and hazardous waste hauling and disposal businesses do not undercut the importance of the Commissioner's office in protecting farming by posing as agricultural operations.
Copake Councilwoman and CCDC committee member Linda Gabaccia said, "The heart of this issue is not allowing Ag & Mkts power to protect our local farmers to be diluted by those who would attempt to skirt the law under the protective cloak of agriculture. We need a mechanism for Ag & Mkts to be able to screen those waste haulers with questionable records and repeated violations, from the legitimate farmers who are the true stewards of the land and our greatest resource for protecting the quality of rural life." ###
COLUMBIA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
WHEREAS, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets has issued an opinion proposing to overturn a decision of the Planning Board of the Town of Copake which denied site plan approval to Salvatore Cascino for a 24,900 square foot building allegedly to be used as a barn; and
WHEREAS, the Columbia County Democratic Committee strongly supports the right to farm in Columbia County and supports the role of the Commissioner in supporting and protecting farmers as authorized by the Agriculture and Markets Law; and
WHEREAS, the public record reveals that Salvatore Cascino primarily runs a waste hauling and disposal business under the name Bronx Recycling LLC, which has a history of violations of environmental laws in numerous municipalities, including, but not limited to, Waterbury, CT, Dover, NY, and the Town of Copake in Columbia County; and
WHEREAS, such violations have a corresponding record of noncompliance involving fines, contempt citations, and orders from federal and state agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Attorney General of the State of New York; and
WHEREAS, operating a waste hauling and disposal business under the guise of farming undermines the role of farming in our communities and poses a threat to the environment, including specifically surface and groundwater resources, not only in Columbia County but throughout the Hudson Valley;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Columbia County Democratic Committee supports the Town of Copake and urges the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to reconsider and reverse his opinion in view of the record environmental violations of Salvatore Cascino and Bronx Recycling LLC and the possibility the proposed structure will not be used for farming; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Governor Paterson is urged to intervene in this matter on behalf of the Town of Copake and legitimate farming operations throughout the Hudson Valley to put a stop to these repeating practices; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Commissioner is urged to review all applications for his intervention carefully to ensure that other operators of solid and hazardous waste hauling and disposal businesses do not undercut the importance of the Commissioner's office in protecting farming by posing as agricultural operations.
March 25, 2009