Private Sector Should Have Say In DEC Matters

To The Reader’s Forum:

There was a recent article in The Post Journal about Chautauqua County receiving an Environmental Excellence award from the DEC. To quote a letter dated November 16, 2015, Slab City Organics received from County Executive Vince Horrigan,

“Chautauqua County has many projects that require frequent discussions and coordination with the DEC.” Isn’t that special?

Through my business in the private sector, I have tried to work with the DEC and Chautauqua County for more years than I care to mention. I have learned the DEC has absolute control and jurisdiction over our elected representatives as well as my facility. When I have suggested a public conversation/discussion with county officials, DEC and private citizens, I get nowhere. This system needs to be reformed. It is broken. There should be some way for the private sector to have input in helping to determine what should be considered “environmental excellence” if this award is to have any merit.

In my opinion, DEC Region 9 is incapable of self-correcting or self-policing. True reform begins with accountability – for individuals, agencies, governments, etc.

Slab City Organics, using a natural system of composting, has met with resistance from DEC and the county because of their not wanting to lose the revenue generated by the landfill. This is in direct competition with me, a member of the private sector. I have demonstrated for years that food should not be part of the waste stream. It should not be filling up our landfill, but I guess there’s no common sense in a broken system. Saving the taxpayers money and keeping unnecessary material out of the landfill would truly be environmental excellence for all Chautauqua County residents.

Greg Rater