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Concerns raised over large companies

PAINT TOWNSHIP – Residents attending the Monday supervisors meeting in order to oppose a potential landfill project also voiced concern about decades of perceived abuse to area natural resources by big companies.

“It’s enough. It’s a nightmare with them raping our land and stripping,” Valerie Sahbrook, of Paint Township, said.

It’s bad enough what they’ve done for years and years. They’ve made enough,” agreed her son, Mike Sahbrook.

The crowd of more than 65 people took time to criticize companies like Berwind Corp., of Philadelphia, which has been involved in numerous mining operations, landfill projects and wind turbine sites in the region.

Joseph Cominsky, of Windber, cited Berwind as the primary landowner in a Shaffer Mountain wind turbine project he is actively opposed to.

“Who owns your watershed? Berwind.” he said. “This is the same as we got garbage shoved down our throat, the same as we got sludge shoved down our throat. We need to take action,” he said.

The recently proposed landfill along state Route 601 in the township is also sited on land owned by the corporation, said developer Jack Fugett, of Philadelphia.

Berwind maintains on its Web site that Berwind Natural Resources Corp. (BNRC) is an Appalachian-based land and resource management company with mineral ownership in four states.

BNRC owns nearly 400 million tons of coal reserves and in excess of 150 million board feet of standing timber.

The company is heavily focussed toward the leasing, development and sale of its various mineral resources, the site stated.

Residents asked supervisors to consider stopping the landfill development and looking for other ways to bring income into the township.

“We need a different avenue for revenue,” said Patty Stewart, of Timberwood Road.

Although she was also very concerned about the immediate possibility of property value decline, disease and increased truck traffic she wanted the elected representatives to consider the long-term effects of uncontrolled corporate land projects.

“I live in the country for a reason. It’s the water you drink. It’s the water I drink. What about the birds, the animals, the deer?”

We don’t need it. I would pay more taxes,” she said.

By Dan DiPaolo
Daily American 30 North Chief
(Dan DiPaolo can be contacted at dand@dailyamerican.com.)