Coalition of residents call on Gov. Cuomo to ‘reject’ Circular enerG proposal in Romulus

Finger Lakes business and vineyard owners, local elected officials, lake property owners and residents gathered in Albany to call on Governor Cuomo to reject Circular enerG, LLC’s trash incinerator proposal that would allow thousands of tons of trash to be transported and burned in the Finger Lakes region.

The proposal would allow the daily transportation of nearly 3,000 tons of trash presumably from New York City by truck and/or rail for burning at an incinerator facility built at the former Seneca Army Depot in the Town of Romulus, Seneca County. The facility would be constructed just 3.5 miles from Seneca Lake, 3,200 feet from a K-12 school and very close to a residential facility for at-risk youth.

If built, the facility would include a 260-foot smoke stack that could be seen for miles, releasing toxic emissions and residual ash from trash incinerators that contain dioxins, lead, mercury, and other toxic chemicals that are harmful to the health of humans, plants and animals and have an impact on the region’s flourishing wine and tourism industry.

The town of Romulus, residents and advocates have openly opposed the proposal due to concerns related to the health of the community, the environment and the economy. They emphasized, contrary to statements from Circular enerG representatives, the incinerator is not a good economic deal for the area. Trash incinerators are the costliest way to generate energy and the few jobs created will put a $2.8 Billion wine and tourism industry that supports nearly 60,000 jobs at risk.

“For over 7 years business owners in the Finger Lakes have been taken away from what they do best- making wine and welcoming tourists- and have fought an industrial gas storage project on Seneca Lake. Unfortunately, the Finger Lakes is once again under siege by a corporation looking to exploit it for profits.” said Yvonne Campbell, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “We are both tired and incredulous that another irresponsible industrial project is threatening our way of life in the region. We may be battle-worn, but we will not give up our fight to protect what we have spent generations building.”

“Our town is located in the midst of the wine and tourism industry which is the driving economic engine of the region. There are several dairy farms as well as other farming enterprises.” said Sue Ellen Balluff, Town of Romulus Planning Board Member. “It would be a mistake, not only for the Town of Romulus, but also for our neighboring communities, to entertain an industry that could threaten that growing industry. Many of the area towns have issued public statements opposing the trash incinerator. This project not only affects the residents of our town but the surrounding area as well. We are urging you, Governor Cuomo, to help us protect our Town and our region from this ill-conceived project.”

“We practice sustainable viticulture and we are the first LEED-gold winery in New York State.” said Nancy Irelan, co-owner of Red Tail Ridge Winery. “We utilize geothermal energy for all our heating and cooling, and we recycle all of our winery waste. We have invested all our savings, time and effort into creating a world class destination for agri-tourism. We’ve learned a great deal about the science behind these technologies. Burning trash IS NOT a renewable energy source. We do not want to be the Garbage Capital of the United States. We urge Governor Cuomo to support our community and businesses, and our health and wellbeing, by strongly opposing this project.”

“The burning of trash will create the emission of harmful and toxic gases such as dioxins. Dioxins are extremely harmful not only to humans, but also to the animals and plants that we rely on in order to have a prosperous economy, and there is no safe level” said Fred Bassette, owner of Airy Acres Vineyard and a Cayuga Lake property owner. “Grapes are highly effected by these emissions which could lead to a depletion in the production of wine, a product that fuels Finger Lakes’ economy and tourism business. Governor Cuomo, we are calling on you to use your position and leadership to protect our environment and community from this dangerous trash incinerator.”

“Circular enerG attempted to deceive us with the classification of the incinerator as a renewable energy facility and as a result, they further motivated us to reject the proposal” said Alan Keihle, Seneca Lake Property Owner and Town of Romulus resident. “The gases released through the burning of trash are detrimental threats to our wellbeing. When the gases are inhaled the chance of health risks, such as cancer, heart attacks and neurological disorders increase. This incinerator would put our livelihoods and families at risk.”

“We are here today to appeal to Governor Cuomo to reject a proposal that would essentially reverse all the crucial investments the state has made in the region and completely alter the makeup and identity of the Finger Lakes. This is a critical time for the Finger Lakes brand, as world-class winemakers from California, Germany, and France have already invested millions of dollars in the Finger Lakes over the last six years,” said Michael Warren Thomas, Host of “Grapevine Radio”. “Circular enerG, which formed last year, is proposing to build what could be one of the country’s largest trash burning facilities in Romulus NY, located squarely between Seneca and Cayuga lakes in the heart of the Finger Lakes. This is a critical time for the Finger Lakes brand, as world-class winemakers from California, Germany, and France have already invested millions of dollars in the Finger Lakes over the last six years. We see the 24/7 burning of massive amounts of garbage in the heart of a growing agricultural and wine tourism for the next 50 years as ‘Renewable Pollution’; not a solution to waste management, and certainly not an industry that’s compatible with the wine and tourist industry.”

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