May 5, 2020
Press Release from No Burn Broome
Contact: Ellen Connett, 607-217-5350
Last night an extraordinary Public Hearing was held via Zoom on a highly controversial Zoning amendment to Endicott’s Village code.
The zoning change was crafted to allow the SungEel Lithium-ion Battery Recycling-Incineration facility to start operations in Endicott. The Zoning change allows “processing” which is not defined and opens the barn-door to all kinds of high-temperature processes, such as incineration.
The Department of Environmental Conservation approved an air permit for this facility in March. Independent experts claim that the permit was based upon grossly inadequate emissions data. The DEC permit legally allows this operation to release at least four known human carcinogens. However, despite this DEC permit, the existing Village Code does not allow battery recycling/incineration plants to operate in Endicott.
A yes vote to the zoning change by the Village’s Trustees would allow the facility to start operations. A no vote would stop the facility from operating.
Over 240 people signed in to the Public Hearing and 58 people spoke, with all but one asking the Village Board to Vote No on the Zoning amendment.
In the short 3 minutes allowed for each speaker, the citizens, as well as scientific experts, were uniformly informative and articulate in highlighting the many unanswered questions about this carcinogen-emitting facility.
A surprise to all was when one of the Trustees stated that the Village Board has never discussed the issue!
Under the circumstances of the village’s extensive contamination by industry and the cancer legacy that still continues, many of the comments were indelibly moving and will remain seared in the memories of those who witnessed this Hearing – all except the mayor. A number of commentators noted the Mayor’s disinterested demeanor throughout the Hearing.
At the end of the public comments, the Mayor said that she wanted to delay the vote as it was late in the evening. The Village attorney reminded the Mayor that this was a “high profile issue in the community.”
The Mayor suggested a few dates for the Board to meet that two of the Trustees, who oppose the Zoning change, said they could not make. These Trustees recommended that the vote be held at the next village meeting in two weeks. However, the Mayor proceeded to schedule the vote for the zoning amendment and for the required SEQR review for 6 pm, Thursday May 7.
No Burn Broome believes it’s unconscionable that the Mayor wants to rush forward, during a pandemic, against the will of her constituents. According to spokesperson Ellen Connett, “we are all curious as to what is driving the mayor on this. She continues to mislead the community almost every time she speaks.”
The group No Burn Broome has hired an attorney to represent the best interest of the community. Attorney Claudia Braymer informed the Mayor and the Board of Trustees that we will sue if they vote yes for the Zoning change. Unfortunately, this could be the start of a lengthy and expensive process for the Village. See Attorney Braymer’s letter to the Board.