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Moriah no longer taking yard debris

PORT HENRY - Forced to comply with state regulations, the town of Moriah will no longer accept brush and leaves at its trash transfer station.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation banned municipalities from burning brush last fall, although Moriah had continued to accept the debris in hopes of a change in policy.

That change hasn't happened and brush is starting to pile up at the Moriah transfer station.

"Now we have a situation where we have a big pile of brush and we're in danger of being fined (by DEC) for having an illegal brush dump," Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. "We have been lobbying DEC for a change in this policy. We have the support of Sen. (Betty) Little and Assemblywoman (Theresa) Sayward, but there's been no movement."

The new DEC regulation, while prohibiting a municipality from burning, allows individual land owners to burn with a permit if they do not live within a village or city.

"We totally disagree with these regulations," Scozzafava said, noting the Essex County Board of Supervisors also opposes the DEC rule. "I think they're short-sighted."

Scozzafava said when towns were allowed to burn brush strict safety measures were in place. That may not be the case when an individual burns.

"When we did it, it was a controlled burn with the fire department standing by," Scozzafava said. "Now you'll have individuals burning. Who knows if it'll be safe or even what's being burned? Some people may throw painted wood or other toxic materials on their fires."

The change in regulations hits Port Henry residents particularly hard, the supervisor noted. As village residents they can't burn and now they can't take yard debris to the town transfer station.

"What are Port Henry residents supposed to do?" Scozzafava asked. "They're out of options."

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