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Developer of controversial Romulus trash incinerator project may circumvent local gov't

January 08, 2018 11:31 PM

A meeting in Romulus Monday night turned into a shouting match among neighbors as they discussed a proposal to build a $365 million incinerator on the site of the former Seneca Army Depot.

Some neighbors say it could bring jobs and economic development while others fear it could compromise the water, pollute the air and bring unwanted traffic.

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People came Monday night expecting to learn more about this proposed incinerator project before the town makes any decisions, only to hear Circular enerG, the company that wants to build the incinerator, may not need the town’s permission at all.

"We have actually formerly withdrawn our application because in our conversations with the state, they are under the opinion that we have to go through the Article 10 process," said Alan Knauf, attorney for Circular EnerG. "...Believe we have to, based on the public service law."

That means the Public Service Commission will now become the lead agency in this proposal to build a waste to energy incinerator on 48 acres of land that once housed the Seneca Army Depot. An Article 10 is a similar application process, but takes the decision out of the hands of local lawmakers. Still Alan Knauf, the attorney representing Circular EnerG, came to this meeting to answer any questions.

"We’re expecting to remain vigilant," says Tom Bouchard, planning board chair. "We’re going to keep paying attention to this. It is a big issue in our town."

People in the audience also had questions and concerns and at times the meeting got out of hand.

Martin Palumbo, Circular EnerG Owner: “This is not about taking waste in. It's not about building an incinerator. It’s about creating economic development for the community... [shouting]."
Chairperson: “Order ...order."

The community is split on the benefits of this project.

"You're talking about a whole bunch of construction jobs to put an incinerator in," says Paul Doyle, zoning board member. "Those jobs will be gone after it’s built and there’s going to be 50 local jobs. What are they going to be doing trucking trash around?"

"Most of the stuff this plant creates is reusable and the biggest thing this plant would create is opportunity in this area that has been starved for opportunity forever," says Michael Davis, Local IBEW business manager.

Even if the company gets clearance from the state, the biggest hurdle may be winning over the community.

WHECTV

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