3 State Legislators to Gov. Cuomo: Romulus Incinerator ‘Must Be Stopped’

A waste incinerator proposed for the town of Romulus would have “horrific” long- and short-term consequences for the Finger Lakes region and “must be stopped,” according to the three state legislators who represent the most affected communities.HelmingREADY4BrianKolbREADY5palmesanoREADY4
In a recent letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials, State Sen. Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) and Assemblymen Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) and Philip Palmesano (R-Corning) urged rejection of an impending application for project permits from the State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.
“Being located only 3.9 miles from Seneca Lake and the Cayuga Shoreline, this operation would compromise the character and safety of the region for both residents and tourists and would result in devastating impacts that we simply cannot allow to occur,” the legislators said in their Mar. 9 letter.
The facility proposed by Circular enerG LLC, a year-old Rochester company with no history of waste disposal or energy production, would be the largest waste incinerator in the state.StudyAreapdf2
It would import up to 2,640 tons of municipal solid waste a day — mostly from the New York City area — to be burned in a plant on 48 acres of land at the former Seneca Army Depot. The plant’s smokestack would rise 260 feet. The waste would arrive by highway — 176 tractor-trailer loads a day — or by rail — 30 rail cars per day.
When it first announced the project in November, Circular enerG said the facility would generate up to 50 megawatts of electric power from burning waste.
It is now seeking a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Article 10 of the state Public Service Law to generate up to 80 megawatts of power.
On Mar. 13, Circular enerG filed with the state Department of Public Service its “Public Involvement Program Plan,” or PIPP, opening a docket for a regulatory matter that is expected to grow for many months, if not years.
Since the company’s PIPP filing, more than a dozen comments have been added to the docket, many from representatives of local communities such as Romulus, Lodi, Fayette, Ovid and Geneva that have expressed opposition to the project.
In its public involvement plan filed this week, Circular enerG proposes to hold open house meetings this summer before filing its scoping document with the Department of Public Service.
The PIPP document makes numerous references to a “study area” within a five-mile radius of the proposed incinerator. Circular enerG does not provide details on why it chose to limit its study of the project’s environmental impacts to such a restricted area.
Toxic air pollutants, including mercury, lead and dioxins, would be expected to spread from the smokestack across much of the Finger Lakes region, according to Paul Connett, a waste incinerator critic who spoke at a public hearing in Romulus in January.
Wine industry officials have expressed fears that pollutants from the plant would harm vineyards far beyond the five-mile “study area.”
In November, Circular enerG had sought to obtain a Special Use Permit from the Town of Romulus Planning Board. But it withdrew that application in January in the face of stiff local opposition and turned instead to an alternative permitting process under the state Siting Board.JohnBRhodesREADY
“The reason Circular enerG is applying under Article 10 is due to unanimous opposition from residents, businesses and local officials,” the three state legislators said in their Mar. 9 letter to Cuomo, Siting Board Chair John B. Rhodes, and others.
Helming’s state Senate district includes the Town of Romulus and the company’s proposed five-mile “study area.”
The dividing line between the state Assembly districts represented by Kolb and Palmesano lies about a half-mile north of the proposed site of the incinerator. While most of the “study area” falls in Palmesano’s district, a sizable portion also falls in Kolb’s.
Kolb is the minority leader of the state Assembly.

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