December 4, 2017
ROMULUS, NY (WENY) -- More than 200 people packed the fire hall in the Town of Romulus Monday to hear a presentation surrounding a controversial waste-to-energy plant proposal to be built on the former Seneca Army Depot site.
Representatives from the company Circle EnerG presented project details during Monday's Romulus Planning Board meeting.
The $365 million plan proposes to transport trash via rail and truck to the plant, which would be build on about 48 acres of land inside the former Seneca Army Depot site.
"It will take garbage, which right now is generally sent to landfill where it rots to methane, which is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide for global warming, it will convert it to energy," says Alan Knauf, an attorney for Circular EnerG.
Specifically, that energy would create electricity. The controversy surrounding the proposal is focused on the environment.
"Yea there's nothing green about this. They're burning garbage. They're calling it waste-to-energy - what they're really doing is burning garbage to generate steam, to turn turbines to make electricity. This is the dirtiest way you can..it's also the most expensive way you can make electricity. It doesn't make any sense. All it really is is a way to get rid of other people's garbage," says Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian and Gas Free Seneca.
"If people are opposed to waste energy, then that means they're in favor of land-filling because that's what's happening now and that's what's going to happen. In Europe, across the world people realize, this is the wave of the future. We want to get the maximum benefit out of the garbage," Knauf says.
Monday's meeting was simply for a presentation. Planning Board Chairman Tom Bouchard says they plan to take their time reviewing the entire material and keep it as open as possible.
The Planning Board has already declared itself as the lead agency for the environmental review process.
"We also are requesting the Town of Romulus Planning Board to hire an environmental engineering firm to assist us in the environmental review process, as well as requesting the town to hire an environmental attorney," Bouchard explains.
Bouchard also says those costs would fall on the applicant for a project of this scale. Circle EnerG submitted a special-use permit application to the town on November 6th.
The next step is for the Planning Board to be officially selected as the designated lead agency for the environmental review.
Bouchard says there will be plenty of opportunities for formal public comment in the future, as this process continues.