Republican Assemblyman John Ceretto called for Deputy DEC Commissioner Eugene Leff to recuse himself from proceedings on the proposed expansion of the CWM Landfill on Tuesday. Ceretto's position is based on Leff's statements to WIVB that he is leaning toward approving the CWM expansion despite the ongoing public comment period. Ceretto said the comments were irresponsible and betray the process, because public officials need to be impartial while still gathering information and opinions.
"The entire public comment period must be completed before any opinions or decisions are rendered," Ceretto said. "The public's concerns about the proposed CWM expansion should be the primary factor in the final decision. Deputy Commissioner Leff should not have stated an opinion on the project before he heard from every concerned resident. In light of his comments, he should recuse himself to protect the integrity of the process."
"I fully support Assemblyman Ceretto's call for Deputy Commissioner Leff's removal from any involvement in this important process, which will determine Lewiston-Porter's quality of life for generations to come," said community activist Timothy Henderson. "Deputy Commissioner Leff's comments to the TV station were ill-timed and inappropriate, given that they were made during a public hearing attended by a standing-room-only crowd of concerned residents. Over the years, the DEC has not been very kind to the residents of Lewiston-Porter, and Leff's comments did little to remove any long-held suspicions our community has regarding DEC's intentions."
Ceretto sent a letter to the governor's office asking for Leff to remove himself from the CWM decision-making process. In addition, Ceretto asked for an extension of the public comment period by 90 days to Dec. 5, and for the DEC to not take any options off the table. Residents who wish to submit a public comment on the proposed CWM expansion currently have until Sept. 5 to do so.