Fenimore Landfill matter back on committee agenda

TRENTON – One of the issues that was temporarily halted when GOP-sponsored bills were taken off committee agendas recently is moving again.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday regarding the Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury. A bill dealing with that landfill’s closure – S2617 – was pulled from a committee docket scheduled for this past Monday.

Sponsor Sen. Anthony Bucco appealed to Senate President Steve Sweeney to allow the hearing to go forward because of the health risks involved.

Committee Chair Sen. Bob Smith said the hearing now is back on.

“There are several issues regarding the landfill that need to be looked at before we take action, but rest assured, we are moving forward,” said Smith.  “But before we move forward on any bill, we need to know what exactly is going on at Fenimore and what we in the Legislature can actually do about it.  That is the only way we are truly going to resolve the issue.”

Bucco and Sen. Joe Pennacchio had written to Sweeney in favor of the bill’s being dealt with.

The landfill closed in 1977, then reopened in 2011 with the purpose of propertly capping it and reclosing it, according to lawmakers, and unsafe levels of hydrogen sulfide emanate from it, according to Bucco and Pennacchio.

In a release, Sweeney said that “I have been in contact with both Senator Bucco and the mayor of Roxbury and have assured them that the Senate is committed to resolving this issue in a manner that is best for the residents of Roxbury and the surrounding community.”

GOP bills were taken off some agendas, sources said, as retaliation by Sweeney for lack of cooperation from Republican Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. in connection with votes for one of Sweeney’s gun bills.

The bill that was pulled from the agenda would have mandated that the Department of Environmental Protection assume responsibility for a proper closure of the landfill in Morris County. Thursday’s committee session will be to take testimony only on the matter.  There is no vote scheduled.

Fenimore Landfill matter back on committee agenda