Letter: Endicott board makes right call

Your Turn
By Diane Lechner, Guest columnist
September 27, 2020
Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton NY).

This week, the truth prevailed and a majority of the Endicott Village Board voted not to rescind the permit allowing SungEel MCC to build a battery recycling facility at the former IBM plant.

Mayor Linda Jackson, Deputy Mayor Cheryl Chapman and Trustee Eileen Konecny are to be commended for taking a principled stand. They, like many in the silent majority, have had enough of the demonstrable lies and slanderous accusations that have colored this debate.

The opposition mischaracterizes the recycling process as “incineration.” Independent professional engineers hired to do a review of the permit, the DEC and many others in the scientific community have all concluded it is not.

The opposition has offered “proof” in the form of pseudoscientific conjecture, and in doing so, has sown distrust of DEC experts in the public mind. Of course the DEC has determined time and again that, based on available information, the project poses poses no adverse health risks to the surrounding community.

When opponents made the case SunGeel was a foreign company and therefore could not be trusted to care about their neighborhood, they stoked bigoted fears of the “other” to make the company’s motives automatically suspect.

And opponents have used every dilatory tactic in the book to deny village residents a fair resolution of the matter.

But what’s most disturbing to me is the level of disrespect shown to the female officials. Instead of encouraging respectful debate, opposing social media pages allow despicable personal attacks to flourish, thereby amplifying the voices of those who call these women “dumb,” “corrupt,” “incompetent,” “on the take,” etc. The women are regularly interrupted in public meetings, and receive a whole lot of “mansplaining” when they express support for the project.

Please don’t get distracted by the sideshow. With this vote, village officials fulfilled their duty to encourage the creation of new jobs, the promise of new development and the revitalization of the Square Deal.

Diane Lechner is a Johnson City resident.

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