Seneca County Local Businesses, Advocates, and Residents Announce Lawsuit Against Seneca Meadows Inc. and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Lawsuit Alleges Seneca Meadows, the Largest Landfill in New York State, Violates New York State Constitution Green Amendment

Today, a group of Seneca County businesses, advocates, and residents hosted a virtual press conference to announce a lawsuit they are bringing against Seneca Meadows Inc., the operator of New York’s largest landfill, Seneca Meadows, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. You can watch a recording of the event here.

The lawsuit alleges that the emissions from the landfill interfere with the landfill’s neighbors’ reasonable use of their property for business and residential purposes and violates the Green Amendment to the New York State Constitution, which guarantees clean water, air and a healthful environment to all New Yorkers. The lawsuit seeks an immediate abatement of the nuisance conditions and an injunction preventing the Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing a permit for the expansion of the landfill.

The lawsuit was filed in the Albany County Supreme Court today. At the press conference, the plaintiffs, along with Assemblymember Anna Kelles, discussed their personal experiences with the landfill and called for its permanent closure. 

“Day in and day out, the residents of Seneca Falls and the Finger Lakes region are the ones who are most directly subjected to the harmful impacts of New York’s largest landfill. We have watched our water, air, and environmental quality degrade, despite its protection being enshrined in New York’s constitution,” said Yvonne Taylor, Co-Founder of Seneca Lake Guardian, a grassroots environmental group. “We are proud to stand with our neighbors to fight back against the dump and the Department of Environmental Conservation and hold them responsible for this injustice. Heed our call — we will not back down until we win.”

Seneca Meadows is slated to close in 2025, but Waste Connections, its for-profit, Texas-based operator, is seeking a new permit to extend its operations until 2040 and to expand its footprint by 47 acres. Landfills pose serious health and environmental risks that disproportionately harm communities facing other systemic oppressions, including communities of color, indigenous communities, and rural and low-wealth communities. 

Seneca Meadows produces up to 200,000 gallons of PFAS-laden wastewater each day, polluting New York and New Jersey’s waterways and drinking sources. The landfill also emits huge quantities of greenhouse gasses, violating the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act's objective of achieving 100% net emissions reduction by 2050.

Locally, the State Department of Health has identified lung cancer clusters near the landfill. Harmful odors are a constant complaint of residents, and the landfill’s truck traffic and unsightly appearance negatively impacts the region’s $3 billion tourism industry, which supports 60,000 jobs. 


About Seneca Lake Guardian

Seneca Lake Guardian is a New York State not-for-profit Corporation with 501(c)(3) and is dedicated to preserving and protecting the health of the Finger Lakes, its residents and visitors, its rural community character, and its agricultural and tourist related businesses through public education, citizen participation, engagement with decision makers, and networking with like-minded organizations.