Helming’s anti-incinerator legislation gets through Senate

The New York State Senate passed the bill to block a proposed garbage incinerator project from moving forward at the former Seneca Army Depot in the Town of Romulus. Circular EnerG is seeking to build a garbage incinerator that would require the daily delivery of more than 2,500 tons of trash to operate.

“This is a tremendous victory for the entire Finger Lakes region. For the last eight months, I have worked with local residents, environmental advocates, and business owners to craft this legislation and get it passed. We brought together many diverse groups, including statewide business organizations, and environmental advocacy groups, who are typically on opposite sides of the table to pass this historic legislation. All levels of government worked together to get this done. This is the way government should work, for the people! My legislation, which is known as the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act of 2018, would help keep this misguided project out of our community. It is a win for residents and business owners who were fearful of the impact this project would have on public health, the environment, their businesses, and the value of their property,” Senator Pam Helming said. “Most importantly, this is a win for the children of Romulus who would have been forced to go to school next to a smokestack releasing who knows what. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue; rather, this is a matter of protecting the quality of life for local citizens and visitors alike and preserving our beautiful lakes, farmland, and natural scenery. It’s time now for the Governor and the Assembly to join the Senate in passing this legislation and getting it signed into law. With two days left of the legislative session, we need immediate action from the Assembly and Governor to protect our community and the entire Finger Lakes region.”

This legislation (S.8109/A.11214) prohibits the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and others from issuing a waste-to-energy permit for a proposed trash incinerator if it meets the following conditions:

1. The facility is within the Oswego River/Finger Lakes watershed;

2. There is at least one landfill or other solid waste management facility permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and operating or located within a 50-mile radius of the proposed incineration facility;

3. The proposed facility is within 10 miles of a priority waterbody as designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Opponents note that the incinerator would produce toxic ash from burning a range of solid wastes that can vary widely in chemical output, making compliance with emissions and toxic waste limits difficult. Siting a trash incinerator in the Finger Lakes region, with the associated impacts of air and ash pollution, will damage local tourism as well as the booming wine and agricultural industries.

“The people of our community have spoken with one voice against this proposal. The Assembly and the Governor need to join our efforts, pass this bill, and take a stand and prevent the incinerator from coming to Seneca County,” Senator Helming said.

“The families and businesses in the Finger Lakes consider Senator Helming a champion for her Herculean efforts to protect the region from this ill-conceived garbage-burning facility. She has worked tirelessly across party lines to ensure that the bill gets passed UNANIMOUSLY in the Senate this session. We are counting on the Assembly to quickly pass this bill as well and for Governor Cuomo to sign it into law,” said Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian.

“Senator Helming has worked tirelessly to build bipartisan support for the most significant environmental bill of this legislative session. She and the Finger Lakes delegation of co-sponsors truly represent the interests of the Finger Lakes people, as they have unwaveringly represented the preservation of the Finger Lakes way of life. The Assembly must follow suit and immediately pass A.11214 so that the Governor can sign the bill and follow through with his commitment to protect the Finger Lakes,” said William Ouweleen, Secretary of Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, and Vintner, O-Neh-Da and Eagle Crest Vineyards, Est. 1872.

“Everyone who lives in the Finger Lakes is indebted to Senator Helming for taking a courageous stand against powerful people who were looking out for their self interests only. Senator Helming galvanized bipartisan support for this legislation to preserve the environment, agriculture, tourist businesses, and homeowners throughout the Finger Lakes,” said Carol Doolittle, a member of the New York Wine Industry Association and owner of Frontenac Point Vineyard.

Also on FingerLakes1.com