New debate heats up over controversial incinerator project in the Finger Lakes

(WHAM photo)

Seneca County, N.Y. (WHAM) - Governor Cuomo is turning up the heat on the proposed incinerator at the former Seneca Army Depot.

This is the first time the governor is speaking out about the proposal.

In a statement Tuesday morning, the governor said in part, “Importing and burning solid waste in an environmentally sensitive area is simply not appropriate."

He went on to say he's confident Circular enerG’s application will be rejected.

While the company said Cuomo is bowing to political pressure, people against the project said this is a step in the right direction.

“I don't see how burning trash could possibly be good for the environment," said Brian Laws, who has lived next to the proposed project site for about 13 years.

The site in Romulus would burn 2,600 tons of garbage per day.

The attorney for Circular enerG, Alan Knauf, said that trash would be converted into energy.

“For some reason in America, we want to throw everything in a pile and let it rot,” he said. “It’ll be there for hundreds of years causing pollution in the groundwater.”

The company just submitted a revised plan to the Public Service Commission.

Circular enerG insists there would be no harmful effects on the environment.

"The emissions of dioxin are essentially zero,” Knauf said. “There’s not a problem with emissions. This project would not have an industrial discharge into Seneca Lake. It’s a very clean process.”

Not everyone is convinced.

"There could be toxic fumes,” said Laws. “We have kids and animals. There's white deer over there. I think it's overkill. Could be too much."

The project still needs to go through a scoping process to determine if there are any potential impacts, and an application would then be filed. The process could take as long as two years.

Meantime, there is a bill in the State Legislature aiming to block the project. It is in the Energy Committee awaiting a vote.

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