Environmental Victories

A garbage dump will close and 802 acres of farmland will be saved from development. The dump is in South Hadley, Massachusetts, which borders Amherst and Holyoke. The farmland is in Leyden, Massachusetts, near Greenfield and Brattleboro.

On March 11, the owner of the dump, Advanced Disposal Corporation (AD) of Jacksonville, Florida, said it will close the dump in March 2014. AD had $351 million in sales last year. The announcement came after anti-dump protests by South Hadley residents.

In January, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection said AD violated the law at the South Hadley dump. The company has been landfilling material that should be recycled. AD makes money by the ton for landfilling, not for recycling.

In November 2012, residents of South Hadley held a rally across the street from the landfill on Industrial Drive. AD dumps about 600 tons of garbage at the South Hadley landfill every day except Sunday. Bob Flaherty lives in South Hadley. He attended the rally because he wants the company to do something to reduce the bad smell of the dump.

Mohinder Grewal lives in the nearest house to the dump. “I have a problem with the smell, the noise and the dust,” she told the Hampshire Gazette newspaper. “If I have company, it’s so embarrassing to me. I can’t have a cookout in the summer.”

An environmental group which has a web site at www.ToxicsAction.org says the South Hadley landfill is one of the worst sources of pollution in New England. A staff person from the group attended the rally.

The Sierra Club is working toward the goal of closing all landfills and incinerators. It has a web site about this effort at:

www.sierraclub.org/committees/zerowaste

In Leyden, 802 acres of farmland will be saved, a land trust announced on March 14. The land is home to Bree-Z-Knoll dairy farm. The development rights will be bought for $1,079,300. The money comes from the state and federal governments. The deal was arranged by two land trusts. They have web sites at www.MountGrace.org and www.FranklinLandTrust.org.

The vast majority of land in the Valley is still unprotected and vulnerable to being paved with roads, parking lots, “McMansion” vacation homes that are usually vacant, Wal-Marts, and other so-called “development.”

Between 1982 and 2000, the Connecticut River Valley lost 27 percent of its farmland to development.

In the 25 years ending in 2007, Massachusetts lost 85,700 acres of farmland to development. That’s according to the most recent Census of Agriculture by the federal government.

More information about land use in the Valley – including a map of protected land -- is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/137

Groups working to save open space in the Valley have web sites:

www.KestrelTrust.org

www.vlt.org

www.MonadnockConservancy.org

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The first photo shows some of the farmland in Leyden that was saved. photo by www.MountGrace.org. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.”

The second photo shows anti-dump residents of South Hadley and staff people from www.ToxicsAction.org in front of the dump. The photo was taken last year. photo by www.ToxicsAction.org.

Comments

Thank you for the article.

Thank you for the article. One thing about the properties to be protected: it's not just Bree-Z-Knoll that makes up the 802 acres. There are 11 landowners involved, and the 802 acres includes farmland and a lot of forested land. Most of the other landowners are individuals or families, with the exception of Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center and Angel’s Rest Retreat. A group of neighbors got together to do this.

-David Kotker

Membership Coordinator

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

1461 Old Keene Rd.
Athol, MA 01331

978-248-2055 x19

kotker@mountgrace.org

www.MountGrace.org

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