May 8, 2020
Press Release from No Burn Broome
Endicott Trustees vote 3-2 for Sungeel’s battery recycling
carcinogen-emitting facility. Supermajority Petition may undo vote.
Last night the Endicott’s Village Trustees voted 3-2 for the Zoning change to allow the Sungeel’s Lithium-ion battery recycling-incineration facility to operate. The two Trustees who voted against the Zoning change were Ted Warner and Patrick Dorner. 261 people signed into this Zoom meeting to be witnesses to the vote.
Trustee Dorner said:
“I have never been involved in such an important meeting, where the health of the Village of Endicott was compromised by a group of inept, deceitful, and unqualified board members. Speaking as a taxpayer and resident of the Village of Endicott, I am very afraid for my family’s future here in Endicott.”
The vote may be nullified by a Supermajority Petition!
No Burn Broome cancelled a May 7 press conference because the team was out collecting signatures from homeowners who live within 100 feet of Endicott’s industrial zoned area. 20% of the landowners in this particular area were needed to sign a Petition opposing the facility, because that would trigger special circumstances for the vote: 4 of the 5 Trustees would be needed to approve the vote. The term used for this is “supermajority”. Endicott’s industrial zoned area is approximately 500 acres – a map of these areas is online at https://noburnbroome.com/map/
No Burn Broome’s attorney, Claudia Braymer, submitted the Petition to the Village attorney yesterday afternoon before the vote. However, if it wasn’t for Trustee Ted Warner, the Board members and the public would not have known about this Petition. The Mayor and the Trustees said they had not read the Petition. The Village Attorney said the Board could take the vote but it would not be submitted to the state until the Petition was verified. If it is verified the 3-2 vote is nullified since passing of the law will need a 4 to 1 vote.
Trustee Ted Warner noted during the meeting that it would be unwise for the Board to proceed with the vote for several reasons:
- The Village Board had never had a meeting for the trustees to discuss the project, let alone hear from experts.
- The residents were not informed about the facility and/or its emissions.
- The residents deserve a formal meeting – which could be held via Zoom – in which there would be three parties: Sungeel’s experts, the Community’s experts who are opposed to the project; and the Trustees. This was such a reasonable suggestion it was fascinating witnessing the proponents squirm trying to find “reasonable” excuses not to go along with it.
According to Trustee Warner:
“It was fairly obvious to me that the real reason they refused to go along with these proposals was because they didn’t want to break ranks with the mayor who wanted to get this vote through last night at all costs. It was a huge disservice to the community to rush this through without hearing detailed analysis from local experts and without even emergency and safety standards in place.”
Before the vote was taken, the Village Board had to answer a series of questions for the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review Act) process. It was clear from the beginning that Mayor Jackson, Deputy Mayor Chapman, and Trustee Konecny were going to vote in unison and in such a way that the SEQR process would go through without a requirement for a full Environmental Impact Statement, which was what was so clearly needed in this process.
The 3-2 votes on the SEQR questions were so frequent and predictable it often reached embarrassing proportions, for example:
Impact any recreational activities – No (even though a home run in the baseball field adjacent to the facility would hit the building); Having the facility at the corner of Robbell and Clark would not impact on the character of the community –No; Impact any historic site – No; Would pose any significant health problem for the Village workers or the community – No and No.
The Trustees who voted for the Zoning Change said that they trusted the DEC to protect them. Had the residents of Endicott known about this trust they would have told their Board members that the DEC’s Air Permit, legally allowing the release of known human carcinogens, was of no protection to them, and that Endicott residents are still suffering with the cancers caused from chemicals released years ago from IBM and others in Endicott.
In response to the proponents’ trust in the DEC, Paul Connett, PhD, science advisor to the group said,
“Relying on the DEC to protect your village from incineration is like allowing Attila the Hun to date your daughter! They are hopelessly out of date in understanding the dangers posed by dioxins, fluorinated compounds and nanoparticles – and even more inept about monitoring them.”