Open burning laws debated

Essex County Board of Supervisors

Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava voiced concerns over DEC burning regulations during the May 20 DPW Committee meeting.

“I had a long conversation with DEC regarding open burning,” Scozzafava said. “The permits to burn brush at the transfer stations have expired, and they made it very clear that we are going to have to come up with an alternative plan. I cannot afford to bring in a chipper. I think that we need to send a message that it is just not practical.”

Scozzafava said he was at odds with a section of law under Section 215 of the solid waste law, which eliminates municipal burning.

“If you think about the way that the law is written, it is asinine,” Scozzafava said. “Anyone can go and get a permit and burn anything right in their own yards instead of having the towns doing it under a controlled burn.”

“I think this law was designed for the cities and heavier populated areas, and we need to let the state know that this is an issue here in the smaller communities,” Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said.

Scozzafava said that the municipal burns are controlled and monitored by the towns to make sure that everything is under control.

“It is very careful. We have the fire department there to make sure everything goes OK,” Scozzafava said.

Elizabethtown Margaret Bartley said that the county might want to look at purchasing a commercial chipper that would be paid for equally through each town.

“Each town pays a share for it to go from town to town,” Bartley said. “I know that I could use it and other towns could.”

DPW Director Anthony LaVigne said that the department currently has a chipper that they rent to towns.

“It depends on what size of brush you are talking about. Ours can chip up to eight inches,” LaVigne said.

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