Waterloo, NY- In a packed courtroom, the Honorable Judge Doyle heard two Article 78 proceedings filed against the Town of Romulus by garbage incinerator applicant Circular enerG.
The first suit was filed by the corporation in objection to the Town’s decision to disavow the Code Enforcement Officer’s letters indicating that a trash burning plant was permissible within the Town’s Zoning Laws. The second suit was in objection to the Town’s recently revised zoning laws, which further clarify the Town’s original zoning law’s intentions. Judge Doyle reserved decision on both suits, including a decision on whether or not to grant Seneca Lake Guardian (SLG) intervener status.
“We are hopeful that we’ll have a decision on our request for intervenor status within a week. The judge was no nonsense, so we may get decisions on all of the motions relatively soon. These cases should clearly be dismissed,” said Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “Circular enerG’s attempt to bully the Town into submission with these frivolous suits just goes to show you how important it is to stop predatory companies swiftly. We hope that Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle is watching, and that he sees this as the perfect reason to work with Speaker Heastie and Governor Cuomo to reconvene the senate and pass A11214, which would prohibit incinerators in the Finger Lakes watershed. Otherwise, the community faces a very costly, lengthy battle with this Goliath.” Seneca Lake Guardian was formed by the leaders of Gas Free Seneca, the grassroots group that won an 8 year long battle against a proposed gas storage and transport hub on Seneca Lake earlier this year. SLG would be represented by renowned environmental law firm Earthjustice should they be granted intervenor status.
“Although Seneca Lake Guardian (SLG) appreciates that the Town of Romulus is vigorously defending its interests in this lawsuit, Seneca Lake Guardian represents regional interests that are broader than the Town’s in this matter, said Mary Anne Kowalski, Seneca Lake Guardian’s Research Director. “In its Motion to Intervene, SLG seeks to ensure that those broad interests are protected now and into the future, even if Respondents are unable to maintain their defense over the long term because of costs of litigation, changes in Board composition, or for other reasons.”
Without passage of legislation to prohibit trash incinerators in the region, the Finger Lakes would not only have to await a decision on the two Article 78 lawsuits, but also have to go through a lengthy Article 10 process where a Citing Board comprised of appointed Albany officials would determine whether the facility could be built in the Town of Romulus. Circular enerG’s plan to transport an additional 3,000 tons of garbage via truck and rail and burn it would not reduce the amount of garbage being hauled into Finger Lakes landfills. The region already receives 50% of all of New York State’s garbage, and this facility would only increase that amount.