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Wednesday, August 20, 2003 Watertown (NY) Daily Times

County Farm Bureau will hear opinions on proposal to ban open burning of trash

by Matt Guardino, Times Staff Writer

MADRID - Farmers tonight will begin discussing what could be a controversial plan to back a ban on trash burning in St. Lawrence County.

The county Farm Bureau's resolutions committee from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Madrid Library will take up the issue and other proposed measures to be submitted at its annual meeting in October.

Richard W. Tulley Jr., the group's president and a staunch supporter of a proposed county law that would prohibit burning toxic and hazardous garbage materials like plastic, urged all members to attend to voice their opinions.

"My feeling is that government is run by those who show up," he said.

Mr. Tulley, Brasie Corners, said he received several phone calls Tuesday morning from farmers upset with his comments to a St. Lawrence County legislative committee Monday.

Some Farm Bureau members support state and county bans on burning, which has been linked to contamination of meat and dairy products and increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

"To me, it makes a lot of sense, and our garbage has changed in 40 years," Mr. Tulley said.

The Farm Bureau is on record supporting efforts to educate residents about the dangers of burning certain materials, such as the county's ongoing $36,000 public informational campaign.

But many farmers are opposed to an outright ban because they are concerned such legislation would keep them from burning organic materials like wood and plant waste, Mr. Tulley said.

The resolutions committee will meet again from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Oswegatchie Town Hall, Main Street, Heuvelton, and from 8 to 10 p.m. Aug. 29 at the home of Farm Bureau member Sanford "Sandy" Stauffer, 941 Ferris Road, Nicholville.

The resolution supporting a burn ban will be considered at the county Farm Bureau's annual meeting.

"And I would encourage members to be there to vote in favor or against, because it's a democracy, there's no question," Mr. Tulley said.

If the measure is passed at the county-level meeting in October, it will be submitted for consideration at the state Farm Bureau's annual meeting Dec. 9 through 11. The statewide group has long rejected calls to support proposed legislation banning garbage burning.