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Hundreds protest landfill in Seneca Falls

Hundreds of protesters gathered near the Seneca Falls Library along the railroad tracks Saturday morning to protest the expansion of Seneca Meadows and the trash trains set to move into the area, if a contract with New York City is approved. Brad Jones, former Mayor Seneca Falls and one of the protest organizers said that this was going to be the “first of many walks,” to show that the citizens of Seneca County, and beyond were sick of the landfill’s tactics. Jones told FingerLakes1.com that the walk, which started by the library and continued to Sen. Michael Nozzolio’s downtown office, came together organically — without any major challenges.“The kids make a huge difference,” he noted — pointing to the dozens of young people in attendance — either as guest grand marshals, speakers, or protesters just walking alongside others in solidarity. Two of those young people, who were grand marshals for this protest, even spoke at the last Seneca Falls Town Board meeting. Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra told FingerLakes1.com that safety was the number one priority for his officers. He had spent a few hours this week coordinating with various entities throughout Seneca Falls to ensure that the protest could happen without issue. The event went off without incident, and as protesters marched through busy downtown Seneca Falls — traffic was briefly stopped at the corner of Fall Street and State Street as protesters made their way down to the People’s Park. At the park a number of speakers delivered messages to those who had spent their morning preparing and protesting Seneca Meadows desired expansion. Linda Oaks, who is considered to be one of the founders of the Concerned Citizens in Waterloo, a group that has had a huge impact on the overall cause, and been a major force in pushing this movement forward spoke to some of the challenges.She spoke to the need for a countywide zero waste policy, which would allow for waste to be reduced. Many opponents of the Seneca Meadows Landfill have pointed out a need to reduce overall waste, which would have an impact on landfilling across the country. “We must lessen our footprint,” she continued, toting the health of future generations. Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Greg Lazzaro said to the crowd of hundreds, “You walked today, but you also spoke today. Town government hears you.” His sentiment was shared by Seneca County Supervisor’s Stephen Churchill and Paul Kronenwetter who also spoke out against the landfill to the crowd.Churchill said, “15 years ago it was 3,000 tons per day — today it’s 6,000 tons per day.” He continued, “We’re doing everything we can at the county level — and if you can think of anything else that we can do — let us know.””The Seneca Falls constituency sees the writing on the wall,” Paul Kronenwetter said to the crowd assembled in the People’s Park. Students from Seneca Falls spoke out at the protest, as well, citing the odor, future health, economy, and overall well-being of local lakes and communities — as being driving forces behind their involvement.One of the final speakers of the morning was Annette Lutz — who described Saturday as a “dream come true.” The Lutz family has spent a number of years fighting the landfill as residents and business owners, which has increased their ability to push back against what opponents call “shady tactics” used by Seneca Meadows. Lutz compared the fight against the landfill to the fight women took on right in Seneca Falls nearly 170 years ago. It is because of this that she believes the town can be poised to do great things — and fight back against the power that has become Seneca Meadows.The fight wasn’t just a local one, though, as individuals from around the area — in Ontario and Schuyler counties came to fight with those standing against Seneca Meadows. While several hundred turned out today, several thousand could be at the next protest — as this issue continues to pick up more energy and traction.Watch all of the speakers in the video below:Report by Josh Durso, FingerLakes1.comPhotos by Jessamy Uticone, FingerLakes1.comVideo by Tera Erway, FingerLakes1.com

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