Romulus, NY – Concerned and outraged residents, businesses and organizations held a community forum today to discuss the dangers of, and possible alternative solutions to, a proposed trash incineration facility at the Seneca Army Depot in the Town of Romulus.
The proposal, submitted by developer Circular enerG, LLC, would allow the transportation of thousands of tons of trash from around the state daily by truck and/or rail for burning and generating small amounts of electricity. The proposal is currently under review by the Town of Romulus Planning Board.
“The Finger Lakes must not become the state’s garbage dump,” said Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “Hidden under a false guise of ‘renewable energy,’ this project would undermine the region’s environment and economic potential and endanger our communities.”
Attendees were joined by Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and Dr. Paul Connett, an environmental chemist and world renowned independent incinerator expert, who highlighted the negative economic, health, and environmental impacts associated with trash incineration.
“Companies should invest in real, clean renewable energy projects and this incinerator facility is not one of them. This proposal would have more lasting devastating effects to Finger Lakes than the amount of energy it would produce. We need proposals that will protect the region’s agriculture, tourism and public health,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator.
The City of Geneva and the Towns of Geneva, Fayette and Varick have all passed resolutions opposing the project.
“In 2017, the Town of Geneva began to implement a solid waste management plan to reduce refuse that must be landfilled or otherwise disposed of in a way that creates problems for others. So, we now have 40 families set up with a backyard compost bin to turn their food waste into compost, and we accept food waste at the town’s recycling and disposal station for composting. We had our first fix-it clinic this past fall where volunteer repair persons fixed appliances, chairs and other items that would otherwise have been discarded. We will be collecting mattresses and other large items for recycling in the spring,” said Mark Venuti, Geneva Town Supervisor. “These efforts to become responsible stewards of our own ‘stuff,’ and thus our environment, are undermined by mega-facilities like landfills and incinerators, that make it easy to keep throwing things away for others to bury or burn. People need to stop exporting their waste, and the Finger Lakes needs to stop importing it. We’ve done more than our share, and this incinerator threatens Seneca Lake and all that we have been working to build over the past thirty years as the Finger Lakes region has become world renown as a great place to live, work and visit. Calling a trash incinerator a renewable energy source, akin to a solar farm, is absurd. We aren’t that gullible, and we will oppose this project with every resource available.”
“Our communities have worked hard to turn the Finger Lakes into a flourishing region with great economic potential. This incinerator proposal would reverse all the hard work we have put in to stimulate economic activity and create a great quality of life here. The Town of Fayette urges the Town of Romulus to do what is right and reject this proposal,” said Cindy Lorenzetti, Town of Fayette Supervisor.
“This proposal poses a dangerous threat to our local communities and the Finger Lakes region at-large. The incinerator would release harmful pollutants that would negatively affect the environment and the health of residents,” said Mary Anne Kowalski, Town of Romulus resident. “With the Romulus Central School a few thousand feet away from the Seneca Army depot, this is a risk we cannot take. The town has the authority to use sections in its own zoning code to reject the project and we urge that they do so immediately.”
“The Finger Lakes is a vibrant community that has become a world-class wine-producing region. We must all work together to preserve it and this proposal does the exact opposite. That is why we are urging the Town of Romulus to reject this proposal that will put unnecessary risk to the health and prosperity of the region,” said Will Ouweleen, winemaker and secretary of the Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition
“Together, wine and tourism create nearly 59,000 local jobs and inject $3 billion a year into the local economy. This incinerator proposal would be a giant step backwards for the region and the people who have worked so hard to build the Finger Lakes brand,” said Kim Aliperti, co-owner of Billsboro Winery, winner of the 2016 Governor’s Cup.
The forum was sponsored by the following groups:
Romulus Residents Opposed to Trash Trains
Seneca Lake Guardian, A Waterkeeper Affiliate
Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition (FLXWBC)
Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter
Sierra Club, Finger Lakes Group
Seneca Jet d’Eau, LTD
Finger Lakes Zero Waste
Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee
Cayuga Lake Watershed Network