NoBurnBroome Press Conference (via Zoom) on release of updated NoBurnBroome Position Paper

Note: For the press conference recording and slide deck, see Press Conference on Updated Position Paper by NoBurnBroome.

Press Release, August 28, 2020

Monday, August 31, 12:00 pm
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Meeting ID: 828 0856 8353
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Meeting ID: 828 0856 8353

The NoBurnBroome (NBB) Science Team will hold a press conference on Monday, August 31 at 12:00 pm at the above Zoom meeting location to announce the release of its new position paper.

After a four month investigation,  the Science Team has concluded that the SungEel MCC lithium-ion battery incinerator proposed for Endicott, NY is not only very bad for Endicott but also bad for the USA.

NBB recognizes that there is a fast-growing need for a recycling solution to the growing number of expended Lithium-ion batteries. NBB enthusiastically supports recycling efforts. However, what was initially seen to be a well-intentioned project to provide much needed economic development to Endicott has turned out not to be in the best interest of Endicott or the nation.

SungEel’s process involves two high-temperature steps which are dangerous because they produce very toxic by-products.

George Fiedler, RN (retired) has found “that none of the valuable metals that SungEel will attempt to recover from the batteries will remain in the USA and used in manufacturing here. They will be exported to South Korea. What makes this shocking is that some of these metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese, are of strategic importance for American energy and defense industries.”

From John Ruspantini, CHMM PMP, “As far as Endicott is concerned, SungEel is more of a disposal than a recycling operation. Their system is designed to burn off 40% of the materials in the batteries in order to get at what they want. The real recycling won’t happen here.  South Korea gets the benefits; Endicott gets the pollution from what amounts to a hazardous waste incinerator.”

“The toxic emissions are far worse than the NYS DEC acknowledges or even understands. When Tom Elter said in a recent letter that ‘The chemistry is not fully understood’ he was telling the truth. The NYS DEC does not understand the dangers that nanoparticles pose, nor do they have any handle on all the hundreds of fluorinated by-products that will be formed in the SungEel kiln and afterburner. Based on our research, ALL lithium batteries contain PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) or chemicals that can become PFAS when heated,” according to Paul Connett, PhD.

John Ruspantini added, “We don’t fault the DEC for not knowing all of the dangers involved but we do fault them on their lack of curiosity on the matter. Not once in this whole process did they set out to find out what the chemical composition was of these batteries so that they could gauge what the emissions might be. In our report we have shown that the emission data provided to them by SungEel was inadequate on many fronts.”

The DEC’s fatal flaw in this matter was not to require a Type 1 SEQR review, which would have involved a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Such an EIS would have quickly established that this project, especially in this location, conflicted with the Town of Union’s Comprehensive plan and was incompatible with local zoning laws.

According to Ellen Connett.  “It was wrong of the DEC to say: ‘There is no identified creation of a hazard to human health.’ It defies common sense to say this with people living across the street, and kids playing on fields adjacent to the facility.  Especially, knowing that many residents are already suffering serious health problems due to past industrial operations (presumably permitted by the DEC).”

The report points out that there are other safer and cheaper ways of separating out the valuable metal compounds than heating and burning off the non-metallic parts of the battery. The most recent study indicates that you can do this with orange peel! In these alternative processes no heat is involved and no pollution is put into the air.

In our report we draw attention to the dramatic turnaround – which occurred some time between Feb 12 and March 10 – in the mayor’s position from an opponent to the incinerator to a lead advocate for it.

Echoing a letter sent to Commissioner Seggos from Fred Akshar dated August 27, 2020 (attached) the NBB group is calling for “a Full EIS be performed BEFORE any consideration be given to reinstating the State Facility Air Permit (currently on hold).”

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