GENEVA – Senator Pam Helming today announced that her legislation to prohibit garbage incinerators from being established in the Finger Lakes region has once again passed the Senate unanimously. The Assembly unanimously passed its version of the bill last week, and the legislation is now ready for the Governor’s consideration and signature. 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 these facilities, such as air and ash pollution, additional traffic on public roadways, damage to the local tourism, winery, and agriculture, and threats to the lakes and farmland throughout the region.
“The fact that this legislation passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly – with support from Republicans, Democrats, and legislators of 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. The fact that this legislation passed both houses of the State Legislature and now awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature is a moment of celebration for the entire Finger Lakes region and all those who believe in clean water, clean air, and a high quality of life for our children and families. The Governor has indicated that he opposes a garbage incinerator in the Finger Lakes region, and I look forward to him signing this into law. On behalf of the residents and business owners of the Finger Lakes region, I strongly urge the Governor to make this happen as soon as possible. Thank you to Senator May and Assemblyman Cusick for their tremendous partnership and outstanding leadership in pushing this important legislation through their respective houses,” 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.