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MAN BARRED FROM TAKING SOLID WASTE TO GRAVEL PIT

A Cattaraugus County judge Friday barred Sheldon Weaver of Cheektowaga from bringing more solid waste to a former gravel pit that his pothole repair business is using and that the state is trying to close.

Judge Larry M. Himelein gave the state Department of Environmental Conservation a preliminary injunction against Weaver's Advanced Materials Re-manufacturing Inc.

The order prevents Weaver from using the pit because he lacks the necessary state permit to operate a solid-waste management facility at the site on Maple Grove Road in the Town of Freedom.

Himelein cited the state agency's "unrefuted" contention that Weaver has had construction and demolition debris brought to the site in recent months without a permit.

Himelein put off until Thursday a court session on Weaver's bid for an order dismissing the state's year-old suit against his business.

While the state attorney general's office claims Weaver is illegally operating a solid-waste facility, Weaver contends the state is interfering with interstate commerce and attempting to block his company's sale of a permanent "cold" patch made of recycled roofing material for filling pot holes.

Weaver said Friday he has stopped trucks from bringing recyclable material to the site, which he purchased in August 1996.

But he insisted that the state "has overstepped the line" in the court fight. He contends that his commercial rights are constitutionally protected and that his company is not endangering the Freedom area.

He added that the state is "doing to me what the governor did to the Indians" in the dispute over the state's attempt to collect sales tax on cigarettes and gasoline sold to non-Indians on Indian reservations.

Mike Zabel, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said the state believes Weaver's business violates state laws dealing with the operation of a solid-waste site.

Zabel said the state will be seeking financial sanctions for what he called Weaver's "frivolous" court tactics over the past year that seem designed only to delay the resolution of the court case.

In granting the state an injunction halting Weaver's operations, the judge noted that Weaver could "arguably establish at trial that the material being deposited on the site is being incorporated into a manufacturing process to produce a marketable product for a known secondary market."

Such proof would qualify Weaver for a state permit exemption under laws dealing with solid-waste sites, the judge said.

But he noted that Weaver has yet to file a written request for such an exemption and has failed to give the DEC the needed documention to prove his business is entitled to the permit.

Zabel said the state doubts Weaver's claim that he is using the site for manufacturing and believes he is actually purchasing goods elsewhere that he is trying to resell to a number of municipalities and private concerns.

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