Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee Statement About Proposed Heritage Park Poultry Plant in New Square

I have numerous concerns about the proposed Heritage Park Poultry Plant, which is intended to replace the former facility that was shut down by federal prosecutors because of a number of violations. I wholeheartedly supported the decision to close that facility, which put the public’s health and safety at risk.

I have had numerous discussions with the Village of New Square regarding the proposed facility, and they have responded and acted upon many of those concerns. However, despite the fact that the Heritage Park Poultry plant is half the size of the original proposal, I cannot justify building a new slaughterhouse in a residential neighborhood. While I understand that The Village Board of New Square, the lead agency, is trying to fulfill a need for the community, I worry about the health and environmental impact on those who live in New Square as well as on area residents.

First and foremost, I am concerned about the environmental impact of transporting 5,000 chickens a day through densely populated areas of Rockland on roads that already have far too much traffic and are often congested. The chickens will be in open cages on large trucks that are likely to be idling at a standstill because of traffic congestion.

In addition, research shows that trucks transporting chickens carry anti-resistant bacterial pathogens and particulate matter that is a leading cause of bronchitis and asthma. This would seriously impact the health of children and the community at large.

Among the many issues of concern noted by the County Planning Board, which I share are water supply during peak demand periods and drought situations, sewer drainage system, volume-pretreatment of waste, and the question of whether industrial use is compatible with the adjoining and surrounding residential area.

Because of New York State’s home rule law, the ability of the County and State to legislate zoning is limited. However, that does not mean we should overlook the very real environmental and health risks the slaughterhouse will have especially given that the proposed location is in a residential neighborhood.

I will continue to have discussions with the appropriate state and county agencies as well as the Village of New Square regarding these serious issues and to express my opposition to the present site of the proposed Heritage Park Poultry Plant.