October 27, 2020
Contact: John Ruspantini <email@example.com>
[SungEel’s accusations online here ]
In the process of siting a so-called lithium ion battery recycling facility in Endicott, SungEel has not been as transparent as they have claimed. If SungEel was truly transparent, they would have done a full Environmental Impact Statement that would have taken an in-depth look at their process, fully explored dangers to human health and the environment, considered alternative methods of lithium ion battery recycling, and held four public meetings as this process requires.
Either knowingly or not, SungEel did not disclose the fact that all lithium-ion batteries contain PFAS, the “forever toxin.” In a closed ZOOM meeting this past June, where the public was not allowed to speak, SungEel stated that they were going to do research on PFAS in lithium ion batteries, but have not disclosed any detailed plan to the public or provided any update on their research in these past four months. It was only because NoBurnBroome raised the issue, and that DEC accordingly recalled their air permit, that they are now looking into it.
NoBurnBroome is not opposed to lithium-ion battery recycling. In fact, we applaud it! What we oppose is the SungEel process that uses a “Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerator” or CISWI to achieve battery recycling. It was USEPA that determined in their 2019 SungEel permit application review, that the proposed facility is a CISWI. SungEel should be exploring one of at least a half dozen other less dangerous processes that could be employed to recycle lithium-ion batteries. The SungEel process has the potential to release toxic gases and particles, including PFAS, dioxins, fluorinated benzenes and nanoparticles, as well as presenting fire and explosion risks that would be detrimental to the Village of Endicott.
SungEel calls our concerns regarding PFAS and other toxins “misinformation” and “junk science” just like any negative political campaign ad would, hoping to dismiss and discredit these concerns and get the court of public opinion on their side, regardless of the truth. Our sole intent is to ensure the health and safety of Endicott. We have nothing to gain otherwise. Instead of demonstrating empathy for the people who have gotten sick and died from exposure to industrial pollution in Endicott, SungEel would rather focus on promoting their “promising technology” which is getting a sweetheart deal, benefitting from taxpayer money, all while paying no local taxes.
SungEel’s self-proclaimed “science-based decisions” used to develop their process previously neglected to identify PFAS in lithium ion batteries and a specific method to ensure these toxic compounds would not be released to the community. How can we trust the “science” of a company that does not even know the composition of what they are subjecting to high incineration temperatures, let alone the resultant PFAS chemicals that can form from the initial PFAS compounds breaking apart. These are called products of incomplete combustion or PICs. We challenge SungEel to fully investigate the potential for the formation of PFAS PICs in their process.
Instead of meeting with us in person to publicly discuss our concerns, SungEel would rather take the easy way out and refer us to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), just like Andrew Cuomo did when NoBurnBroome tried to air its concerns in this matter. The DEC has acknowledged that the chemistry of the SungEel process is not well understood, but instead of requiring more research, they will only enforce existing regulations or standards; however, many of the concerns that NoBurnBroome brought up are currently unregulated. As such, SungEel can use DEC as a shield to dismiss our concerns out of hand because DEC is afraid of being sued by industry for working to protect human health and environment for anything above and beyond what is currently enshrined in law. Just because it is legal does not mean it is safe.
Regarding the Endicott election, SungEel knows that if Endicott Trustee Cheryl Chapman loses the election, they will lose an ally who is against our attempt to raise concerns regarding their proposed facility. Trustee Chapman, Mayor Linda Jackson and Trustee Eileen Konecny have spared no low-down tactic to dismiss our concerns in favor of siting this facility in the middle of the Village of Endicott.
SungEel’s most recent press release attempts to camouflage a dangerous high temperature metal oxide recovery process by projecting a green image — this is called “Greenwashing”. Everyone wants recycling, especially NoBurnBroome and a number of other local groups. But, not at the expense of generating more pollution.