Missteps lead to lack of county trust

Reading the OBSERVER (Aug. 20), there is an article on two candidates running for county executive state differing opinions on out-of-county waste! From this view, one is correct while the other just views the money-making part, with no consideration for residents and the environmental impact over the years!

Let me go back, 30-some years ago as a resident of a neighboring town where 39 wells were polluted by our local landfill because the city of Dunkirk turned it over to Chautauqua County, which promised only county waste.

Instead, our county let us down! They were not to mix garbage with waste from industries that spent their money to do the right environmental promise! This was going on the same time as Love Canal!

Our landfill stood 90 feet high. The town of Dunkirk firefighters had to go and put fires out! You would hear the popping and explosions morning, noon and night! It was very dangerous, especially when kids would go with beebee guns, walking in the landfill! What about the drainage into our Lake Erie, through storm pipes! Yes, EPA finally shut them down! And we got federal money for a Dunkirk Water District!

What came next? The county had to find a new grove or home for this landfill! The town of Ellery was picked! We felt so sorry for them! They fought against it, but the county promised them it only would serve the county! Another promise broken!

Cell after cell was built, trash and waste comes from all over, even from Canada, without recycling!

Our city and neighboring towns and villages recycle. The tonnage is what they want, because it brings in the money! We are begging the candidates, the people need them to protect all of us – especially environmentally! What is there left for children and grandchildren? The waste coming in now is fine and acceptable, with a profit! Please don’t increase it, and let the new cell be there for the county residents for the next four years!

The next issue is the county is not standing behind our Dunkirk water filtering plant! We must keep it regional locally! They insist the county can do better!

At the last meeting with the county, we told them, we cannot trust them, once again, this time with our water in Lake Erie, with them taking it over! They still sputtered on, tried to convince us, and their last remark was “Please overlook the off-color remark that was made.” No feelings of what we went through with their landfill, where we had children with diseases, hepatitis, kidney problems, even death! So, you see, we cannot put our trust in our elected officials who are there to help us!

Let’s go on to another takeover by our county government! The City of Dunkirk gave away their airport in Sheridan to our county government for $1! And the county had helped them! Now they want to sell it! This would be a disaster!

If anyone flies, you will hear the pilot say Dunkirk is a point of necessity. Because we border another country! And what if a foreign country wants to buy it? Once again, we lost trust in our county! We must never let this sale happen!

Let’s go to another distrust.

Here sits our Chautauqua County Home! The fight goes up and back! Yes, the county wants to get rid of it, because of the Medicaid the state puts us in! If they are truly there to help our County Home for us, why aren’t they helping us? Everyone knows the gas well that is capped! It just sits there! It would be self-energy, in paying its own! Why hasn’t the county given us help in exploring this project?

Once again, our Chautauqua County government does not represent their residents! We are so disappointed in them! They care only for themselves and their “revenues” pushing aside the “I Cans” of the cities, towns, villages, degrading them, and refusing to help them if they don’t get their way! Is this the government we need in Chautauqua County? Please let your elected officials know!

On one final note, we see on TV where box cars on trains, full of smelly garbage and trash coming from different counties and states have nowhere to go! Are we going to be the county to accept them? We pray not. God help us if we do!

Valerie Pawlak is a Dunkirk resident.