By Olwen Searles, Guest columnist
September 27, 2020
Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton NY).
In response to Linda Jackson’s guest column regarding the lithium ion battery incinerator, I pose a few questions for the Endicott mayor. (See my February Channel 12 interview).
Before the questions, though, I’d like to address the “they” she speaks about who do not want any industry in Endicott. “We” are a grass-roots organization, NoBurnBroome.com, who is composed of Republicans, Democrats, independents and families from all walks of life. There is no “agenda” or political bent. We only want what is safe for our community and children. We want nothing better for Endicott than actual clean industry that does not jeopardize our future health.
Ms. Jackson tells us that 86 well-paying jobs will be ours. The president of SungEel told us directly that 10 jobs (no salary mentioned) would be the starting point. SungEel would not own the building and would pay no property taxes. Her mention of a growing tax base from them is suspect. Which brings me to the first question.
What’s in it for Mayor Jackson? She cites a letter of support from the former mayor and the Endicott school board from 2019. She fails to mention that they both, in 2020, sent letters that asked for this project to be put on hold, during a 100-year pandemic, for further investigation. If Jackson is so concerned, why has she negated these facts?
Mayor Jackson says she met with the Department of Environmental Conservation and community members. Which community members? She also has failed to mention that the DEC revoked the original air permit due to SungEel’s obfuscation of PFA’s in their incinerator process. She tells us, incessantly on talk radio and her highly restricted Zoom village meetings, of her overwhelming support from the community but has produced no such evidence. Jackson and her underlings have consistently voted to limit public speaking at these Zoom calls. Voting by clique is not an effective form of government.
Second question. With the horrible superfund history of Endicott, is it really worth the chance to pollute the village once again? Does the mayor and her two trustees feel confident that they won’t be responsible for cancer rate increases and toxic chemical-related deaths in the future? People have short memories and will forget, but the internet won’t. Google the town of Times Beach, Missouri, or Love Canal, New York, and all the names of people involved are there, forever.
So, is it worth jeopardizing the residents of Endicott, for a third time, with forever chemicals? Is it wor th taking a chance that Mayor Jackson, Eileen Konecny and Cheryl Chapman might be wrong, which they are?
We have made great strides to come back from terrible environmental devastation only to be threatened with it, again, by people who were voted in to represent the overwhelming majority of their constituents. Listen to us, not the company that is poised to make millions exporting the valuable chemical remains from the incinerator back to South Korea.
It takes a village to raise a child, but it might take only three officials to destroy them.
Olwen Searles is an Endicott resident.