UPDATE: New York has several recommendations for proposed upstate WTE facility
UPDATE April 13, 2018: In a letter from the New York Department of Public Service, state officials and staff outline several problem areas in Circular EnerG's plans for a proposed waste-to-energy facility, as reported by WENY News.
State staff outlined everything from formatting and grammar issues to concerns that the company was not doing enough to reach out to potential stakeholders in the region. Circular EnerG is attempting to gain state-level approval for its proposed WTE facility after facing significant local opposition.
The letter from the state is not a rejection of the company's plan, but does carry some authority. The company has 30 days to implement the proposed changes into its plan or to provide a written explanation as to why it is not including each recommended change.
UPDATE March 4, 2018: In a growing show of local opposition, the Seneca County Board of Health unanimously approved a motion opposing Circular EnerG's proposed waste-to-energy facility, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times.
The board sent a letter to state officials, which may be relevant since Circular EnerG is trying to gain state approval for the proposed facility. Members cited health concerns related to the increased presence of trucks and trains bringing feedstock to the facility, as well as the chemicals and emissions from the facility itself.
Members also said they were concerned with long-term effects of the WTE facility that could harm Seneca Lake.
- The Seneca County, NY Board of Supervisors voted unanimously against Circular enerG's proposed WTE facility in the town of Romulus, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times. The motion against the facility cites the potential impacts of trucks hauling waste into the town, or the possible health effects from emissions.
- Additionally, three New York state legislators sent a letter to state officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asking the state to intervene and block the proposed facility, as reported by Ithaca.com. The legislators are asking state officials to respect the wishes of the town and other locals who have voiced and demonstrated opposition to the project.
- As it stands, Circular enerG has not submitted an application to the New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. The company may be applying for a permit through the state entity as a way to circumvent local opposition and citing decisions.
The company first made its pitch to the upstate town of Romulus in December 2017, but has faced a series of roadblocks since. The $365 million proposed facility would generate up to 50 MW of energy, but residents have shown a strong opposition to the trucks and rail transport that the 2,640 ton capacity of the facility would require.
Since the proposal was introduced, the Romulus Town Board, the Geneva City Council, the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and now the Seneca County Board of Supervisors have all voted in opposition, with the Romulus Town Board taking the step of approving a 6-month moratorium on new WTE facilities in January. It is unclear whether the state board, if propositioned by the company, would overrule the local decisions.
The region is already home to a lot of solid waste infrastructure for the state, including Waste Management's High Acres Landfill and Waste Connections' Seneca Meadows Landfill. There is a feeling among locals that the area already does its fair share of handling the state's MSW, which may be giving Circular enerG an additional hurdle to the commonly expected "not-in-my-backyard" attitudes.
While it's been a few years since the last new WTE project in the U.S. was built in West Palm Beach, FL, the subject remains hotly debated. Some argue that WTE is better than sending material to a landfill, and may be the only way for regions to hit their "zero waste" goals. Other say WTE is a "false path" to those goals, and more time should be spent on boosting recycling and reducing waste generation.
- Finger Lakes Times Seneca County Supervisors add voice to Romulus incinerator opposition
- Ithaca.com State lawmakers oppose Romulus trash incinerator
- Waste Dive New York county adds further opposition to upstate WTE project
- Finger Lakes Times Seneca County Board of Health opposes Romulus trash incinerator
- New York Department of Public Service Re: Case 18-F-0150 - Application of Circular EnerG, LLC
- WENY News NYS looking for answers into proposed waste-to-energy incinerator on Seneca Lake
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