5/30 and 6/30/2015
Biosolids in Western New York: Continuing Local Politics & Legal Battles
In the spring of 2015, controversy continued about the use of biosolids from anaerobic digesters in the western New York towns of West Seneca and Wheatfield. The digesters are owned and operated by a branch of quasar energy group. Local citizens and town leaders have raised concerns about use of biosolids on soils since the digestion facilities were completed two years ago.
According to media reports, several area towns continue to discuss possible local regulation of biosolids land application. However, the intensity of the debate has diminished. And, in recent months, several important stakeholders have made clear statements in support of biosolids use on soils, including New York Farm Bureau and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
At the same time, legal actions that were initiated last year are coming to trial. For example, arguments were held June 26th in the case between quasar's local business entity Sustainable Bioelectric and the Town of Wheatfield (Buffalo News, April 23, 2015; Buffalo News, June 25, 2015). After 90 minutes of oral arguments, the judge took no immediate action on Wheatfield's request for a dismissal of the case and indicated he thinks there are substantial issues to be considered.