Letter: Battery plant would bring toxic hazards to Endicott

Press & Sun Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page 8A. April 26, 2020

Your Turn
Mary Ann Dorner
Guest columnist

Amidst a worldwide plague, as if that isn’t enough of a threat, the residents of the Southern Tier and especially Endicott face another major health risk with the proposed lithium battery incinerator on the horizon, brought to the USA from South Korea.

Within the documentation from the Department of Environmental Conservation, the application states that the facility has an incineration component . Do not be hoodwinked by local and state politicians, and large state and local funders who were sold a “bill of goods” from the DEC and SungEel in South Korea.

DEC documentation lists the following “high toxicity air contaminants” in emissions: formaldehyde, vanadium, arsenic compounds, beryllium compounds, cadmium compounds, chromium compounds, chromium (vi) compounds, lead compounds, manganese compounds, mercury compounds, nickel compounds, benzene, vanadium compounds, tcdd/dfs.

This proposed facility is in the heart of neighborhoods, ballfields, Union-Endicott schools, a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants and churches which will all be impacted by these toxic emissions.

Endicott Mayor Linda Jackson (R), and Trustees Cheryl Chapman (D) and Eileen Konecny (D) all support this facility in this area, which is wrong. Local resident Paul Connett, chemist/toxicologist, states it is unsafe to use incineration in this recycling project, and Trustees Ted Warner (R) and Patrick Dorner (R) agree.

Rushing this project for the convenience of the state and local backers and SungEel is unacceptable, especially during this pandemic. Many residents are unaware of this project, and even fewer know that incineration is a component. Very little has been exposed to the public by the politicians about the wheeling and dealing of this entity.

There has not been any village or DEC in-person public hearing, and at this time in our world, it is impossible to gather. And then there are those who are unable to participate in virtual meetings, as they do not have a computer.

In my dealings with the DEC throughout the years, I have found them to be completely devoid of their name. In truth, they should be called the Department of Environmental Waste. Conservation means to “save,” and their past permits, including the proposed $100 million incinerator in Kirkwood, suggests they hand out permits to any big-money company. Residents are concerned this project will create a mecca in Endicott for toxic-emitting industries where property values will plummet.

Among the many arguments one could make against this project, in addition to adding more pollution to Endicott, is the iminent fire hazard from lithium batteries, and the wear and tear on our roads with trucks continuously importing batteries to the site.

The plans include processing 2,200 pounds of lithium batteries per hour. Verification of harmful emissions is expected to be conducted by SungEel once a year and will report their findings to the village.

SungEel would take the valuable metals back to South Korea. Endicott would get to keep toxic water, toxic ash and toxic air!

Mary Ann Dorner is an Endicott resident.


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