M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

ARCHIVES OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Finding Aid for the
BETHLEHEM WORK ON WASTE
RECORDS, 1989-1996
(APAP-148)

For reference queries contact M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Michelle M. Powers
May 2003



 
 
 
 
 
 

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935


VOLUME: 1.99 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Elizabeth Lyons in November 2002.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Administrative History

Scope and content note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Administrative History

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Bethlehem Work on Waste (BWOW) was begun in the spring of 1989 by Betsy Lyons, Betty Albright, and other residents from the town of Bethlehem, New York. It began in opposition to American Ref-fuel/BFI's (Brown Ferris Industries & Air Products & Chemical Inc.) proposal to build an incinerator on Cabbage Island (now Beacon Island) in Bethlehem. After defeating the proposed American Ref-fuel/BFI incinerator the group organized with environmentalists from the town of Coeymans against a proposed ANSWERS (Albany New York Solid Waste Energy Recovering System) landfill. In 1992 the EAC (Energy Answers Corporation) proposed building a waste management facility that included an incinerator on Green Island, located in Albany near Troy, or Cabbage Island, the same site that BWOW fought to protect against American Ref-Fuel/BFI's proposal. On June 18, 1992 a referendum vote was held in Bethlehem and rejected EAC's proposal and prohibited the building of incinerators in the town.

BWOW advocated the 3 R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The group wrote editorials, spoke at public meetings, held public forums, gave talks at schools and for community groups, and organized recycling days for the community. They were the first in the community to organize days for recycling of certain materials such as books, shoes, and latex paints. They mentored the student group Students Reduce Our Trash who put together a lesson plan for the Bethlehem Central School District incorporating the 3 R's. They also formulated a Solid Waste Disposal System for the town of Bethlehem. The group put out extensive information not only about themselves but also about the dangers of incineration.

In 1991 the group incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Money came from member donations and fundraising events. The group ended its efforts in the mid 1990s. The last newsletter was issued in 1995.


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Scope & Content Note

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This collection documents the work of Bethlehem Work on Waste (BWOW) from its inception in 1989 and its first opposition of the American Ref-Fuel/BFI incinerator through 1995.

The materials in the collection include correspondence between BWOW and members of town and state government as well as other environmentally concerned groups and individuals. There are also numerous news clippings related to the waste management facility proposals BWOW opposed, as well as articles about the group's activities within the town such as recycling days. BWOW also spoke and wrote about the dangers of incineration and promoted waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. There are notes from BWOW meetings and notes from speaking engagements.

There are materials related to the three waste management facility proposals BWOW opposed. The files include relevant correspondence, news articles, reports and materials from the companies proposing the waste management facilities. There is also material related to the June 18, 1992 election in Bethlehem in which the EAC proposal was defeated and the town voted to ban incinerators.

The collection also includes videos. Some of the videos are home recordings of news programs about the incinerator proposals. Greenpeace produced one of the videos about the dangers of incinerators and community protest against them.

The collection is weak in the day-to-day operations of the group. There is little financial information.

Files are arranged alphabetically within each series. Materials within the files are arranged chronologically, items without dates come first in the folders.


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Administrative Files, 1990-1996, .33 cubic feet, Organized alphabetically

The Administration series includes material related to the founding and growth of BWOW. There are copies of the organization's by-laws and incorporation papers. There are notes and outlines for BWOW presentations and speaking engagements. There is correspondence between members of BWOW and government officials including the Town Board, the Town Supervisor, the Town Attorneys, the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the State Assembly, and the Rensselaer County Legislature. Meeting minutes are separated between the typed minutes from a few of the meetings in 1990 and 1991 and the handwritten notes kept in two spiral bound notebooks from 1990 to 1995. BWOW's newsletter was first issued in November of 1990 with issue #1. In January of 1991, a second newsletter labeled Volume 1, #1 was printed with the title Words on Waste. Words on Waste was published three or four times a year from 1991 through 1995. There are a few issues missing in the collection.

The Miscellaneous folder contains three printouts. Two of these printouts include correspondence, news releases, meeting agendas, and notes. Some of the items may be copies of items found in this or the following series. The third printout is a listing of documents that were created by BWOW and an annotated bibliography of publications regarding environmental issues such as recycling, incineration, and waste reduction.

Series 2: Waste Management Facility Proposals, 1989-1995, .8 cubic feet, Organized alphabetically

BWOW was involved with three major opposition campaigns to waste management facilities. Each one is arranged as a sub-series. Sub-series one is American Ref-Fuel/BFI's proposal in 1989 to build an incinerator on Cabbage Island in Bethlehem. Sub-series two is the proposal by Albany New York Solid Waste Energy Recovering System (ANSWERS) in 1991 to create a landfill in the town of Bethlehem or Coeymans. BWOW worked with environmental organizations in the town of Coeymans to prevent its development in either area. Sub-series three is the Energy Answers Corporation (EAC) proposed building of a waste management facility that included an incinerator on Cabbage Island or Green Island. On June 18, 1992 a referendum vote was held in Bethlehem and rejected EAC's proposal and banned the building of incinerators in Bethlehem.

Files include proposals from the waste management companies, news clippings, legal papers related to the building of the facilities, correspondence from BWOW and other environmental advocacy organizations to government offices or the media, fliers for public forums, and items related to the scoping process. The "scoping process" is the process by which the public is given an opportunity to comment on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).

Series 3: Subject Files, 1989-1995, .83 cubic feet, Organized alphabetically

This series contains various BWOW files that are not specifically related to any waste management facility or the group's administration. The files include copies of Bethlehem's town codes and laws regarding waste management, BWOW's Solid Waste Management plan, numerous lesson plans for teachers in grades K-12 from government and environmental agencies and one specifically created for the Bethlehem Central School District by Students Reduce Our Trash (Students R.O.T) who were mentored by BWOW, Bethlehem's Town Board Meeting minutes, random flyers and news releases announcing events and meetings, information for various topics such as incineration, composting, and recycling, testimonies given by BWOW and its members, and files for special events such as paint recycling. The series also includes news clippings regarding BWOW's work and environmental concerns, the majority of clippings come from the local newspaper, The Spotlight.

Series 4: Videos, 1989-1992, undated, .17 cubic feet, Organized Chronologically.

There are five videos in the collection.

Solid Waste Town Meeting, #1. 1989. 1 hr. 30 min. Produced by WMHT Schenectady, New York.

This program discusses incineration and the opposition to an incinerator proposed in Washington and Warren Counties in New York State. It also discusses the problems and benefits of landfills. The guests include Norman H. Nosenchuck from the Solid Waste Division of the New York State Department of Economic Conservation (NYS DEC); Gordon M. Boyd, a consultant from Schillinger, Salerni, and Boyd Inc.; Judith Enck from Rensselaer County Environmental Action; Larry Shapiro from the Toxics Project Counsel of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG); Assemblyman Maurice Hinchey who serves on the New York State Legislative Committee on Solid Waste Management. The program was moderated by Nancy Norman. Ms. Norman took questions from the audience, the majority were from the Capital Region.

A WMHT Town Meeting #2. Questions, Concerns, Misconceptions; Integrated Waste Management in the Capital Region. 1990, 2 hours. Produced by WMHT Schenectady, New York

This program discusses the issue of recycling vs. incineration. It is heavily focused on the proposed AM-REF/BFI incinerator. There is also discussion of waste reduction. There is a brief overview of the controversy over incineration that includes Betty Albright from BWOW. The remainder of the program, hosted by Nancy Norman, presents a panel to answer questions presented by Ms. Norman and members of the audience. Guests include: Daryl Ditz, Ph.D., from Cornell Waste Management Institute; Judith Enck, from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG); J. Langdon Marsh, Executive Deputy Commissioner from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Larry Merington from American Ref-Fuel; Wayne Ouderkirk, Ph.D., Environmental Philosopher; and Richard Morse, from the Legislative Commission on Solid Waste Management.

North St. Dump. November 29, 1992. 15 minutes.

This is a home video of a wooded area where trash has been deposited. There is no audio description of what is being filmed or where the area is located.

WOW No.3 Saugus, Massachusetts Incinerator. 34 minutes. Produced by Roger Bailey. undated

In the video Dr. Paul Connett, from St. Lawrence University conducts interviews with members of the community of Saugus, Massachusetts who are living near an incinerator that burns 1,500 tons a day. Members of the community discuss the health problems they have experienced as well as other problems in their community caused by the incinerator.

The Rush to Burn. 36 minutes. Produced by Greenpeace. undated

This video is from the environmental organization Greenpeace. It examines the dangers of incinerators, how government fails to regulate them, and how communities are fighting against them. The video looks at communities across the country that have been dealing with proposed or existing incinerators.


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Administrative Files, 1990-1996

Box 1
Folder

1. By-laws, undated
2. Correspondence, 1990
3. Correspondence, 1991
4. Correspondence, 1992-1993
5. Correspondence, 1994-1995
6. Financial, 1990-1991
7. Incorporation, 1991
8. Minutes, 1990-1991
   (These are typed up meeting minutes and agendas from a few meetings in
   1990 and 1991. The bulk of the minutes are in the following two folders.)
9. Minutes, 1990-1994
   (The materials in this folder and the following folder come from two spiral bound notebooks.
   Entries include meeting notes, agendas, and contact information)
10. Minutes, 1994-1995
11. Miscellaneous, 1990-1992
12. Newsletter, 1990-1995
13. Speaking Engagements, 1990-1994, undated


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Waste Management Facility Proposals, 1989-1995
Sub-series 1: American Ref-Fuel/BFI, 1989-1992

Box 1
Folder

1. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Proposal, undated
2. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, 1989
3. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, January-May 1990
4. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, June-October 1990
5. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, November-December 1990
6. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, 1991
7. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process, 1989
8. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process, 1990-1991
9. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process, February 1992
10. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process, March-September 1992
11. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, New Releases from BWOW, 1989-1990
12. American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Flyers, undated


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Waste Management Facility Proposals, 1989-1995
Sub-series 2: ANSWERS Landfill, 1990-1995

Box 2
Folder

1. ANSWERS Landfill, 1991
2. ANSWERS Landfill, 1992-1994
3. ANSWERS Landfill, 1994-1995
4. ANSWERS Landfill, Scoping Process, 1995
5. ANSWERS Landfill, Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, 1990
6. ANSWERS Landfill, News Releases from BWOW, 1991
7. ANSWERS Landfill, Flyers, undated


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Waste Management Facility Proposals, 1989-1995
Sub-series 3: Energy Answers Corporation, 1990-1994, undated
Box 2 (continued)

8. Energy Answers Corporation, undated, 1990
9. Energy Answers Corporation, 1992-1994
10. Energy Answers Corporation, News Releases from BWOW, 1991
11. Energy Answers Corporation, Flyers, undated


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 3: Subject Files, 1989-1995

Box 1
Folder

1. Bethlehem, Solid Waste Management Codes and Laws, undated
2. BWOW Solid Waste Plan, 1993
3. Composting, undated
4. Flyers, undated
5. Household Hazards. A Guide to Detoxifying Your Home, 1988
6. Illegal Dumping in New York State, 1991
7. Incineration, 1988, undated
8. Incineration, 1989-1992
9. Lesson Plans, undated
10. Lesson Plans, 1989-1990
11. Lesson Plans, "Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the
    Bethlehem Central School District," 1991
12. Lesson Plans, "Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the
    Bethlehem Central School District," 1991
13. Lesson Plans, "Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the
    Bethlehem Central School District," 1991

Box 2
Folder

1. Miscellaneous
2. News Clippings, 1990-1991, undated
3. News Clippings, 1992-1995
4. News Releases from BWOW, 1991-1994, undated
5. Paint Recycling, undated
6. Paint Recycling, 1989-1991
7. Paint Recycling, 1992-1994
8. Recycling, 1990-1995, undated
9. Recycling and Composting, 1990
10. Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 1, 1992
11. Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 2, 1992
12. Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 3, 1992

Box 3
Folder

1. Superfund Monitoring Program, 1987
2. Testimonies, 1990-1993
3. Town Board Meetings, 1992


Bethlehem Work on Waste
Box and Folder List

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Series 4: Videos, 1989-1992, undated

Box 1
Folder

1. Solid Waste Town Meeting, #1. 1989. 1 hr. 30 min. Produced by WMHT Schenectady, New York
2. A WMHT Town Meeting #2. Questions, Concerns, Misconceptions: Integrated Waste Management in the Capital Region. 1990, 2 hours. Produced by WMHT Schenectady, New York
3. North St. Dump. November 29, 1992. 15 minutes.
4. The Rush to Burn. 36 minutes. Produced by Greenpeace. n.d
5. WOW No.3 Saugus, Massachusetts Incinerator. 34 minutes. Produced by Roger Bailey. undated


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Last updated May 28, 2003