Proposed Hughes trash plant worries local Energy Committee


By Patsy Nicosia

A proposal to build a solid waste processing facility in the Delaware County Town of Roxbury is raising eyebrows here.
Hughes Energy reps first pitched plans for a “hyper speed composting facility which transforms organic material into a high energy fiber which is used to make recycled paper, organic plastics and other consumer and energy products” at a pair of contentious public hearings in August.
Hughes has also said the waste would be converted into “a saleable fiber” which would be sold as palletized fuel.
The hearings, held in Roxbury and Grand Gorge, were required under the State Environmental Quality Review process; DEC is serving as lead agency on the proposal.
Proponents point to the estimated 50 new jobs the biofuel project at the 15-acre site of the former Greene-Del Sanitation would create.
Opponents say potential emissions and runoff could impact nearby streams, rivers, and even the New York City reservoirs.
They’re also concerned about traffic—a point supervisors’ Energy Committee chair Don Airey made Thursday.
Mr. Airey outlined what he knows about the project—admittedly not much—but said it’s important to keep it on the local radar.
“The impacts could be significant,” he said, especially when it comes to tractor-trailer traffic at the southern end of the county.
“Route 30 would be a major thoroughfare,” he said, as would Route 23.
“I don’t know how many trucks we’re talking a day. I guess it would depend on how many customers they have.”
Also of concern: the fact that Route 30 and the Schoharie Valley are home to the Schoharie County Eagle and Beverage Trails as well as seasonal farmstands.
According to information from Hughes Energy, the proposed Roxbury project would “steam-clean, sanitize, and recycle all organic and household waste…creating a green energy hub.”
The site is expected to receive as much as 175,000 tons of garbage a year, potentially an average of 40 trucks a day, according to the loosely-organized Rural Information Collective, which opposes the project.