ITHACA, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has officially signed legislation to block the construction of trash incinerators in the Finger Lakes, something many local advocates and state officials have strongly advocated for since a trash incinerator was proposed in Romulus between Seneca and Cayuga lakes.
Called the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act, the bill prevents the construction of new trash incinerators in the region. It was drafted in response to a proposal by Circular enerG to build a $365 million trash incinerator in Romulus at the Seneca Army Depot. The waste-to-energy facility would have burned more than 2,600 tons of garbage and withdrawn 445,000 gallons of water from Seneca Lake every day, the governor’s office said in a news release.
The plan was met with opposition at the local level, including 30 local governments, and the state level. Tompkins County Legislature also unanimously supported the passage of the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act with a resolution in March.
Specifically, the legislation signed by Cuomo on Friday prohibits the state from issuing permits for a trash incinerator in the Oswego/Finger Lakes Watershed, if there is a landfill within a 50-mile radius of the proposed incinerator and if it would be located within 10 miles of a priority watershed designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
There were a number of sponsors and co-sponsors on the identical bills that passed the Assembly and Senate. The Assembly bill was sponsored by Michael Cuisick (D-Staten Island) and co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Barbara Lifton, Phil Palmesano, Brian Kolb, Carrier Woerner, Donna Lupardo, Fred Thiele, Deborah Glick, Gary Finch, Linda Rosenthal, Felix Ortiz and Steven Englebright.
The Senate version was sponsored by Sen. Rachel May and co-sponsored by Senators Pam Helming, Tom O’Mara, Brad Hoylman, Rich Funke, Robert E. Antonacci, David Carlucci and Jen Metzger.
“I was happy to help usher this bill through the Assembly, and I’m very grateful to the Governor for his signature enacting it into law,” Lifton said in a statement. “This incinerator would have had an extremely detrimental impact on local communities and local agriculture and tourism. I’m very glad the Governor listened to the multitude of voices from both legislators and residents and acted to protect the health and welfare of everyone in our region.”