This responds to the Oct. 16 letter titled “Batman will fight for clean water” submitted by Clair Robinson Howard on behalf of Keith Batman’s candidacy for state Assembly. She expressed the view that our present assemblyman, Gary Finch, has a poor record on environmental matters. He was said to have let others do the heavy lifting on the algal bloom issue, and to have remained on the sidelines regarding the proposed trash incinerator in Seneca County. Clair is a bright, sincere and conscientious woman, and Keith has a commendable history of public service in Cayuga County, but I feel it fair to shed light on Mr. Finch’s record on environmental matters in general, and on Clair’s concerns, in particular.
Assemblyman Finch has successfully secured funding grants for a host of projects, including the Wells College water treatment plant enhancement, the Auburn water treatment plant’s anti-algae upgrade, the Dutch Hollow remediation project, the allocation of funds for septic system upgrades along Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles Lakes, and, in coordination with Sen. Pamela Helming, is striving to secure funds to facilitate OLWA’s plan to place water-quality monitoring buoys at the mouths of Owasco Lake’s five main tributaries. The list goes on and on to include action on the proposed trash incinerator in Seneca County.
Rochester firm Circle EnerG LLC awaits its special use permit to construct and operate a waste-to-energy facility at the historic U.S. Army Seneca Depot in the town of Romulus. The project would accept the enormous daily rate of 2,640 tons of waste — much of it from New York City. Its exhaust stack would emit far above the 180-foot tallest building, upwind of Aurora across Cayuga Lake, and the estimated daily traffic would include 117 45,000-pound tractor-trailer loads in and out of the plant six days per week.
Might anyone imagine that such a plant’s operation could pose a negative impact on Finger Lakes tourism, farm and business vehicle safety and convenience, weekend visits to our wineries, commuting or plain daily living? Well, Mr. Finch did. He appealed to public service commissioner Burnan to oppose Circle EnerG’s application, and cosponsored bipartisan Assembly Bill 11214, complementing Sen. Pamela Helming’s S-8109 bill, to create the “Finger Lakes Community Act of 2018,” to ban construction of any such facility in the Finger Lakes region. Gov. Cuomo consequently requested the PSC to block the Romulus project. All hats should be off to Assemblyman Finch for his diligence in guarding local environmental health and constituent interests.
David G. Palmer