Hawkins Calls on State Assembly to Reconvene to Shut Down Romulus Incinerator

Hawkins Calls on State Assembly to Reconvene to Shut Down Romulus Incinerator

For immediate release: August 4, 2018

Opposes Effort to Convert Cayuga Coal Plant to Natural Gas
Supports Ban on Fracking Waste in Landfills

Watkins Glen - Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for the Governor to reconvene the State Legislature to have them vote on the bill that would halt garbage incineration in the Finger Lakes. The Assembly Democrats refused to bring the bill up for a vote since they wanted to force the Senate Republicans to allow a vote to extend speed cameras at schools in New York City.

Hawkins also announced his opposition to converting one of the burners at the Cayuga coal plant to use natural gas, while calling for a ban on the landfilling of fracking waste.

Hawkins, a long time opponent of garbage incineration due to financial and environmental problems, has previously stated his opposition to the proposed Romulus garbage incinerator. More than half of all the waste landfilled in New York ends up in one of three landfills in the Finger Lakes.

“Even though the state law says the way to deal with solid waste is first to reduce, reuse or recycle, far too often the state approves jumping directly to burning. We need a policy of Zero Waste in New York. For instance, we should pass the long-pending Environmentally Sound Packaging Act to reduce packaging. The state needs to provide more leadership to develop markets for recycling and reduce costs,” said Hawkins.

Zero Waste prioritizes waste reduction (plastic bag bans, polystyrene bans), recycling, and composting green and food waste.

A 260-foot smokestack at the incinerator would emit dangerous air pollutants including: dioxin, lead, mercury, particulates, acid gasses, and nitrogen oxides, which are a real problem for grape production. To make the same amount of energy, trash incinerators emit 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide than coal power plants. Carbon dioxide is a major cause of climate change. Burning garbage does not eliminate the need for landfills.  The remaining fly ash is very toxic and must be landfilled.

Hawkins also announced his opposition to the conversion of one of the burners at the Cayuga Coal Plant to natural gas.

“It is long past time to get serious about climate change. Natural gas is not a bridge to a clean energy future, it is a gangplank to climate disaster. We need to halt any new use of natural gas or other fossil fuels and instead immediately transition to 100% clean energy, including wind, solar, geothermal, and energy efficiency,” Hawkins added.

Hawkins said he supports a “Just Transition” to 100% Clean Energy. The Just Transition provide full income and benefits as to workers displaced by the fossil fuel and nuclear plant closures as make they transition to alternative work. The program would also provide compensation to local governments that lose tax revenues from the closure of power plants.

Hawkins was arrested in January 2016 with a group of fellow military veterans protesting the proposed Crestwood gas storage facility in Reading. The Department of Environmental Conservation denied permits for the Crestwood project last month.

Hawkins campaigned to ban the fracking for natural gas in New York in 2010 at a time when many environmental groups were either promoting natural gas as an alternative for coal or calling for a moratorium and further study of its impact on water aquifers. Hawkins pointed out that natural gas from fracking was a climate threat. Methane from natural gas as 86 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas over its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Hawkins has long campaigned for a Green New Deal to move to 100% clean energy by 2030 while investing in job creation, housing, health care, and education.

Hawkins supports banning the acceptance of shale-gas drilling wastes in New York landfills and would require remediation of the radioactivity present in the landfills that have taken shale-gas drilling wastes.  Area Green Party activists have previously spoken out against radioactive materials contained in the fracking waste from Pennsylvania being deposited into Hakes landfill in Painted Post, which includes radon-226, bismuth-214 and lead-214.

Hawkins opposes the expansion of the Hakes landfill, which has taken more shale gas drilling waste than any other landfill in New York except the Chemung County landfill.  Hakes' leachate test results demonstrate that high levels of radium and radon are present in the landfill. A ban is required to to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers who live near and downstream from landfills taking shale-gas drilling wastes.

Hawkins also wants the Assembly to reconvene to pass two anti-corruption measures in the wake of the Buffalo Billion convictions. He wants the the bills for a “Database of Deals” and for restoration of the state Comptroller’s authority to preview SUNY contracts with developers. The measures were initially an Assembly initiative, but Speaker Carl Heastie blocked the bills from being voted upon in order to protect Cuomo after the Senate unexpectedly passed the bills the dissolution of the Independent Democratic Conference that had been caucusing with the Senate Republicans.

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