GENEVA — City Councilor Ken Camera is urging his fellow members to formally oppose the proposed trash incinerator at the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus.
Circular EnerG LLC is proposing to build what it is calling a $365 million waste-to-energy plant on a 48.3-acre parcel at the former depot. The proposal is being reviewed by the Romulus town Planning Board, which will need to award the project a special-use permit and site plan approval. Additional approvals will be needed from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
A group is mobilizing forces to oppose the plant, and some governmental bodies already have announced opposition, including the Varick Town Board, which voted Tuesday to oppose the project. Varick is the town north of Romulus.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Camera, who represents Ward 4, announced that he would be seeking his fellow members to do so as well. At the meeting, Camera outlined a draft resolution for Council to consider at its January or February meeting.
“The purpose of this resolution is to oppose this or any other kind of mega-trash conversion project that imports garbage from communities hundreds of miles away — and even out of state — and then concentrates garbage processing in the Finger Lakes,” Camera said.
Camera noted Friday there have been great strides made in the trash-burning technology, but that the Finger Lakes is simply the wrong place for such as operation, given the garbage to be sent there would not be generated locally.
Seneca County — as well as the Ontario County landfill in the town of Seneca — are on the receiving end of tons and tons of trash from elsewhere already, he explained.
“It affects the quality of life of city residents, but it also affects the economic engine of wine and tourism in very measurable ways,” he said. “It’s also unwise and unsustainable.”
Communities across the state “need to find their own answers” when it comes to solid waste, he said. In Europe, that is already happening, Camera said.
For example, he said, incinerators are in use in places such as Paris, which has one on the edge of the city — not 100 miles away.
“They’re not putting the garbage in rail cars” or “trucking it all over” the country, said Camera at the meeting.
Under the plan, trash that would be incinerated at the Depot site would be brought by truck at first and then train, once the infrastructure is set up.
And if people think it will divert trash from going to the local landfills, that won’t happen, because the two industries compete, said Camera and Ward 2 Councilor Paul D’Amico.
Camera said he supports proposed state legislation that would require any source that generates more than 2 tons of organics per week to dispose of it within 50 miles of where it is generated.
While Camera wants to vote on the resolution in January, D’Amico — who said he attended the informational meeting in Romulus on Monday — wants to know more about the project. He said Seneca Depot LLC President Mike Palumbo is willing to attend a Council meeting to discuss the proposal.
D’Amico acknowledged he is likely to oppose the project, but sees no harm in getting more information.
Other councilors were supportive of having Palumbo address the Council.