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NY Senate passes legislation that would block trash incinerator in Finger Lakes

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The New York State Senate has unanimously passed legislation that would effectively block a garbage incinerator planned for the small town of Romulus in Seneca County.

The Senate’s vote could be one of the final nails in the coffin for the beleaguered project.

That project was proposed to be built at the Seneca Army Depot — not far from Seneca Lake and Sampson State Park. However, environmental activists fought the project along with wineries nearby who worried the trash burning project could impact their livelihood.

The group that wished to build the incinerator, Circular EnerG, said the project would obey strict environmental rules and wouldn’t impact surrounding areas.

“Take the waste, convert it to fuel to make energy, strict air pollution rules apply, so essentially no harmful admissions. There’s negative air pressure inside the plant, so there are no odors it’s just great technology,” said Alan Knauf, an attorney representing Circular EnerG.

The bill will block this project and future other incinerators in the Finger Lakes from getting state approval under the New State Environmental Quality Review Act, if certain criteria are met — including the project’s proximity to water bodies and other trash facilities.

After getting denied by local boards, the developers for the incinerator sought to use a process known as “Article X” which allows for clean energy projects, including incinerators, to get approved by a state board and bypass local approvals.

The passage of the Senate bill means both houses of the New York Legislature have okayed the law. It will now head to Governor Cuomo’s desk for final approval.

Cuomo said last spring he opposed the incinerator.

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