GENEVA – Senator Pam Helming today announced that her legislation to prohibit garbage incinerators from being established in the Finger Lakes region been signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The legislation, known as the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act, protects this beautiful and precious area of New York State from the adverse effects of incineration facilities, such as air and ash pollution, additional traffic on public roadways, damage to the local tourism, wineries, and agriculture, and threats to the lakes and farmland throughout the region. Led by Senator Helming and local representatives, the Senate and the Assembly both unanimously passed her bill in March.
“I join the business owners, environmental advocates, and residents across the Finger Lakes region in celebrating the signing of the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act into law. The support for this legislation of people from a variety of interests and backgrounds is a clear sign that garbage incinerators are not welcome in the Finger Lakes region. A garbage incinerator would devastate the surrounding communities and negatively impact our health and our environment. As a region, we believe in clean water, clean air, and a high quality of life for our children and families and we fought hard to make our voices heard and protect our lakes and natural resources from further harm. This is just one example of what we can accomplish when we set aside our differences and work together in a bipartisan effort for the good of our communities. Thank you to Governor Cuomo, Senator May, Senator O’Mara, Assemblyman Cusick, Assemblyman Kolb, and Assemblyman Palmesano for joining our fight and partnering with us to move this important legislation forward,” Senator Helming said.
This legislation (S.2270/A.5029) prohibits the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and other state agencies from issuing a waste-to-energy permit for a proposed garbage incinerator if it meets the following conditions:
- The facility is within the Oswego River/Finger Lakes watershed;
- 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;
- The proposed facility is within 10 miles of a priority waterbody as designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Opponents of the Circular EnerG project note that the incinerator would require the daily delivery of more than 2,500 tons of trash to operate. It 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 garbage incinerator anywhere in the Finger Lakes region, with the associated impacts of air and ash pollution and other negative effects, will damage local tourism as well as the booming wine and agricultural industries.