Governor prohibits incinerator
ALBANY--Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act Friday, May 24, which prohibits the siting of a waste-to-energy facility in the Finger Lakes Watershed. The law is intended to preserve communities, sensitive ecosystems and the region's economy by protecting farmers and local wineries in the Finger Lakes from adverse environmental impacts.
"The Finger Lakes region remains one of New York's must-see destinations with some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world. It is crucial that we protect it," Cuomo said. "We are not willing to put the region's economy, public health and quality of life at risk."
Under the law, waste-to-energy facilities will be prohibited from receiving a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need if the facility is: within the Oswego River/Finger Lakes Watershed; there is at least one landfill or other Department of Environmental Conservation permitted solid waste management facility operating or located within a 50-mile radius of the facility; and within 10 miles of a state-designated priority water body, pursuant to environmental conservation law.
New York state took a significant step in the 2020 budget to help reduce waste destined for landfills, fight climate change and boost food donation with the Food Donation and Food Scrap Recycling Act, which launches a new organics recycling program. The measure requires many of the state's largest generators of food waste to separate food scraps into wholesome food that can be donated to those in need and food to be transported for organics recycling, such as through composting. Organic materials make up about 30 percent of municipal waste, comprising more than three million tons per year.
Senator Tom O'Mara said, "I have appreciated and welcomed the opportunity over the past two years to join legislative colleagues from across the Finger Lakes region to fight for this critical new law. These trash incinerators are a serious threat to the quality, health, and overall safety of many communities throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. The Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act is a great credit to everyone who worked together and with all of us to secure its enactment, including winery owners, farmers, business and community leaders, and many concerned citizens."
Assembly Member Phil Palmesano said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this very important piece of legislation in order preserve the character, quality of life and vibrancy of the Finger Lakes region and to ensure it can continue to thrive. I want to thank my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate on both sides of the aisle, from the Finger Lakes region to New York City, who worked as a team to get this done. I am so grateful for all their help, commitment and effort. Finally, I am so thankful and proud of our local governments, the business community, environmental communities and local residents who worked so hard to get this done. This bill would not have happened without everyone from the Finger Lakes coming together. This is a great day for the Finger Lakes region!"