June 3, 2020
Press Release from NoBurnBroome
For more information contact Paul Connett, 607-217-5350
When the DEC heard that lithium-ion batteries may contain a PFAS they put a halt on the air permit for the SungEel project to allow more investigation. This in turn triggered the Village Trustees to have an emergency session last Thursday night.
PFAS stands for and Per- and Poly- Fluoro Alkyl Substances and one of these substances is used as an electrolyte in some of the lithium-ion batteries, an issue brought to the attention of local representatives by John Ruspantini, a member of the NoBurnBroome science team. These substances are extremely stable to heat, which makes them very difficult to destroy in incineration and also incredibly stable to biological breakdown, which makes them very persistent in the environment where they accumulate in the soil, in water and in the human body. They have been dubbed “Forever Chemicals” and the “Dioxins of the 21st Century.” At minute levels they can cause damage to the immune system and cancer.
At the Village Trustees meeting on Monday night (June 1) conducted via zoom, over one hundred citizens heard the startling news that the Mayor and her supporters had reversed their position on the zoning change designed to allow SungEel into Endicott. Their attitude now is “leave it to the DEC to sort things out with SungEel.” Meanwhile – regardless of the outcome of the petition to require a “super” majority vote of 4 to 1 on the matter – they have “promised” (with no formal vote yet) to rescind the zoning change law (which they voted 3 to 2 for on May 7).
After the meeting Trustee Ted Warner said, “I was stunned by Cheryl Chapman and the Mayor’s drastic opinion change after disrupting the entire village for six weeks in pushing the law.”
The Village Board also agreed in principle (but with no formal vote) to suggestions that a forum be held to involve the Village Board, experts from SungEel and experts selected by opponents to debate the merits and dangers of the SungEel operation and its suitability for Endicott.
A third positive move was the idea that the Village appoint a watchdog committee (1 to 3 experts) to oversee the DEC-SungEel developments and provide advice to the village. John Ruspantini was mentioned in connection with this. But again, no formal vote was taken.
Three very positive developments, but the real victory is that the Endicott community now has the time to hear more considered advice on the suitability (or otherwise) of SungEel’s high temperature/incineration of lithium-ion battery materials in Endicott. The rush is over. But suspicions remain.
Village Trustee Patrick Dorner said, “I went into the meeting to get the law rescinded. The 3 other options discussed in the Thursday executive session were not going to be acceptable. When the mayor came out of the gate with the rescind comment, I was floored, surprised, and happy. Then I started to think, what are they up to. I guess we will take this one and pray that nothing sneaky is still going on behind the scenes.”
NoBurnBroome remains watchful and according to science spokesperson Paul Connett, PhD, “We will use this extra time to educate the community on the dangers of this facility using leaflets, lawn signs, our website and Facebook pages, our zoom meetings and public meetings when we can hold them.”