Two lawsuits have been filed in New York State Supreme Court in Monroe County by Knauf Shaw LLP on behalf of non-profit citizen’s group Fresh Air for the Eastside, Inc. (FAFE), alleging violations of the new “Green Amendment” to the New York Constitution.
The first lawsuit, brought by an Amended Petition filed on 1/21/2022, alleges that the Town of Perinton and Waste Management of New York, L.L.C. (WMNY), violated the right to clean air and a healthful environment by approving a Host Community Agreement (HCA) between the parties related to the mega High Acres Landfill (Landfill) in the Towns of Perinton and Macedon. FAFE claims that the continuous emission of noxious gases and odors, including greenhouse gases (GHGs), from the Landfill cause unclean air and an unhealthful environment for its members and the surrounding community, and that the approval of the HCA exacerbates those conditions and is contrary to State law and policy, including the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act, and the Green Amendment.
The second lawsuit was filed on 1/28/2022, alleging that the State of New York, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the City of New York (NYC), and WMNY violated the Green Amendment through their combined actions and omissions in the management of municipal solid waste at the Landfill, causing unclean air and an unhealthful environment by the continuous release of emissions of odors and noxious gases laced with hazardous substances, including GHGs. DEC has failed to enforce applicable laws, regulations, and permits against the Landfill, in violation of State law and policy, including the Solid Waste Management Hierarchy. The Landfill is a major dumping site for NYC’s garbage, representing about 90% of all of the waste disposed at the Landfill, and NYC has failed to abate the harmful environmental conditions it causes. FAFE seeks the immediate abatement of the unclean air and unhealthful environment caused by Defendants and the Landfill.
The Green Amendment was overwhelmingly approved by New York voters in November. It is set forth Section 19 of Article I of the New York Constitution, and guarantees “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” Knauf Shaw is not aware of any other Green Amendment cases that have been filed.