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Work on Waste (WOW) Anti-incineration Records

Work on Waste (WOW) Anti-incineration Records

Collection Number: 
Collection Length: 
Geographic Coverage: 
St. Lawrence County, NY
1983 to 2000
Finding Aid: 
Stop the incinerator bumber sticker

This collection contains material primarily focusing on the contentious solid waste disposal debate in St. Lawrence County during the 1980s and early 1990’s and the vehement opposition to an incineration option proposed by county leaders, organized by the environmental advocacy group Work on Waste.

Dr. Paul Connett, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University and his wife Ellen, formed Work on Waste with the help of other citizen environmentalists. Though the mid 80s and into 1990, WOW questioned the county's Solid Waste Authority, its consultants, the State and county lawmakers about every aspect of the incinerator project; its safety, economic viability and its effect on other ways of dealing with the waste stream, principally recycling. With WOW leading the charge, much public discontentment over the incinerator/landfill plan was generated, putting significant political pressure on the 22 member County Legislature. Following a contentious election season in the fall of 1989, the legislature voted in July of 1990 to not approve the bonding for the incinerator. The vote was 11-11, but with a weighted voting system in place, the anti-incineration forces were victorious.

The collection includes thousands of newspaper clippings that document the waste disposal struggle. Also included are documents, reports, meeting minutes, correspondence and other material from SWDA and its consultants; press statements, correspondence, meeting minutes and related material of Work on Waste; copies of legal documents, decisions, reports, depositions, correspondence and other material to and from those involved in lengthy permitting and legal proceedings.

This collection was donated to St. Lawrence University Special Collections by Paul & Ellen Connett.