ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – Today, the New York State Assembly announced they passed the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act to protect the Finger Lakes Region from unwanted pollution and disruption.

The bill would prohibit the state from allowing construction and operation of a trash incinerator within the Finger Lakes Watershed. This comes after company Circular EnergG proposed building a waste-to-energy incinerator in Romulus on a piece of land within the Seneca Army Depot.

The incinerator was met by massive community pushback which resulted in the Rochester-based company taking the Town of Romulus to court to challenge a zoning determination that would prohibit the incinerator from being built.

According to Assemblyman Phil Palmesano's office, if an incinerator were built, it would emit lead, dioxins, mercury and other pollutants in the air in addition to putting strains on the environment with increased traffic, carbon emissions and noise pollution.

Without this bill, Palmesano's office says the project's developers could have continued to search for an “end-around” of traditional home rule zoning restrictions.

The legislation passed in the Assembly unanimously and now awaits approval in the Senate.

“The effort to pass the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act came from a place of bipartisan cooperation, collaboration among stakeholders and an unwavering commitment to our community. I am proud to have been a part of this incredible success story,” said Leader Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. “Protecting the natural resources that drive the Finger Lakes region is critical to sustaining our economic growth. Our small business, viticulture and hospitality sectors rely on a high quality of life for residents and visitors alike. This bill protects the health of our natural landscape and the future vitality of the Finger Lakes region.” 

“I want to thank Assembly Committee on Energy Chairman Michael Cusick and all those who stood tall in the face of this misguided proposal for their incredible support and advocacy to protect our region. I especially want to thank the members of the community, who voiced their frustrations so passionately and articulately, for their hard work on this important piece of legislation,” said Palmesano. “This law will go a long way toward ensuring the natural resources and beauty of our community are protected for generations.”

“Passage of this bill represents a tremendous victory for the Finger Lakes region,” said Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “We applaud all of our elected officials who worked so hard to protect the residents and businesses that rely on a pristine environment for our health and livelihood. A giant garbage-burning incinerator has no place here. We urge Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law as soon as it lands on his desk, fulfilling his pledge to oppose the incinerator.”