The Orleans County Legislature tonight voted unanimously for a resolution to preserve the Oak Orchard River and local tributaries in Orleans County. The Legislature continues to push back against Genesee County’s Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park’s (STAMP) plan to discharge to six million gallons of wastewater a day from STAMP into Oak Orchard River by way of the Town of Shelby.
“Tonight’s resolution and the lawsuit we filed last week to prevent this wastewater discharge are not actions we take lightly, as we have a long record of partnering with our friends in Genesee County,” said Lynne Johnson, Chairman of the Orleans County Legislature. “But partnerships are built upon being able to have conversations on difficult topics like wastewater and then cooperating on a solution that works for everyone.
“Yet, throughout this process, Genesee County and their economic development agency have not engaged with Orleans County leadership, developed a plan in the backroom to dump wastewater in Orleans County without our input and then, when questioned, just decided to attempt to steamroll us, rather than work together. I cannot express enough the level of disappointment we feel in their actions.”
Johnson said the resolution clearly states the concerns Orleans County has regarding the wastewater discharge including impacts on tourism, sport fishing, flooding, property damage, declining real estate values and more. Johnson believes there are other avenues Genesee should be exploring for managing wastewater.
“I have said all along and want to repeat it again, that our legislators are in support of STAMP and the economic development projects that will lead to investment and jobs for our entire region,” said Johnson. “But that economic growth cannot come at the expense of Orleans County’s natural resources.
Johnson also acknowledged the efforts of New York State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who represents both counties in the State Legislature and has been attempting to mediate a solution.
“We appreciate that Assemblyman Hawley is taking an active role in bringing all parties together,” said Johnson. “We must work together on an alternative.”