Hi all,

As some of you may know I have been appointed this year as the chair of the
Planning Development and Environmental Quality (PDEQ) committee. Last
Monday three resolutions were voted out of the PDEQ committee that will be
discussed and in most cases voted on tonight by the full legislature at our
bimonthly meeting from starting at 5:30pm (the meeting starts with
privilege of the public to speak!) at 121 E. Court St. in the Legislative
Chambers on the second floor.

The first is a resolution in opposition to the proposed large scale
incinerator in Romulus, Seneca County that is just North of the town of
Ulysses. I created an submitted this updated resolution from a template
created by members of Gas Free Seneca. I'm happy to answer any questions
anyone has but in a nutshell the garbage would be shipped by hundreds of
trucks a day from downstate, burned creating significant air pollution very
near an elementary school and two correctional facilities as well as nearby
towns and wineries, created about 52 truckloads of toxic ash daily that
would need to be landfilled locally, and would withdraw 445,000 gallons
daily from Seneca Lake.

A resolution urging the state to pass a plastic bag ban with an additional
5 cent fee of paper bags passed. However, breaking news is that a few days
before the committee vote a bill in the senate and an equivalent bill in
the assembly were introduced that are more comprehensive than our
resolution (here is a link to the senate bill:
http://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2017/S7760). These bills, if
approved, would ban both plastic and paper (paper bag production and
transport have an equal to or even greater carbon footprint than plastic).
As a result I will be sending our resolution back to committee tonight to
align more closely with the proposed state bills. The next PDEQ meeting
will be March 26th at 3pm in the legislative chambers.

Lastly, recently NYSEG put out an request for proposals (RFP) as a result
of long talks local officials and experts have had with the state Public
Service Commission, requesting proposals in a designated area in and around
south Lansing (the Cornell business park area) for alternative energy
development and upgrades. The intention of the RFP is to reduce demand on
the existing natural gas infrastructure and to promote future development
with minimal natural gas needs. However, the current RFP says that they
will accept a proposal that can include the trucking in of compressed
natural gas (CNG) and liquified Natural Gas (LNG), if it is acceptable to
the community. The resolution we will be voting on tonight states that the
inclusion of trucked in CNG and LNG is not an acceptable solution to reduce
our dependence on the piped natural gas infrastructure, which would in no
way help us reach our our Tompkins County stated goal to decrease use of
natural gas to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.

Below is the official press release that followed the PDEQ meeting last

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

In good health,

*Committee Recommends Support of Statewide Plastic Bag Ban*

The Legislature’s Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality
Committee, which back in 2013 considered a proposal from the Environmental
Management Council (EMC)for a Local Law banning single-use plastic retail
bags, today considered—and recommended to the Legislature—a new proposal on
the issue from the EMC, one urging a statewide ban on such plastic retail

Following the EMC’s recent adoption of a measure supporting such a
statewide ban, the Planning committee, in a unanimous 5-0 vote, joined in
recommending that the Legislature express its strong support of a plastic
retail bag ban, which would also include a fee on recyclable paper bags,
and urging the Governor to propose and the State Legislature to adopt such
legislation as part of the State’s Fiscal 2019 budget.

At the time that a Local Law was extensively discussed five years ago,
County Recycling and Materials Management Director Barbara Eckstrom had
advised that the issue be pursued at the State level, instead of through a
Local Law.

Speaking to the committee today, EMC Chair Brian Eden said that, just as
when recycling was introduced years ago, achieving such a ban on the
environmentally damaging plastic bags is “eminently do-able” and can be
achieved, and accepted by the public, over time.  Committee Chair Anna
Kelles reflected that it’s realistic to proactively reduce our reliance on

The Committee, with its unanimous support, also forwarded two other
resolutions for consideration by the full Legislature, to take stands on
two other environmental issues—one voicing formal opposition to the
proposed garbage incinerator in the Seneca County Town of Romulus; the
other opposing the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquified Natural
Gas (LNG) in response to the New York State Electric and Gas “non-pipe
alternative” Request for Proposals to address natural gas demand in the
Lansing area.  Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability Katie Borgella
told the committee it is clear that NYSEG will be looking to the local
community for its input on those elements, mentioned as potential options
in the RFP, and that actions such as this would try to put some boundaries
on what the community would support.

*Contact:  Anna Kelles, Chair, Planning, Development, and Environmental
Quality Committee, 342-2036*

*- END -*

*Anna Kelles*
Vice Chair - Tompkins County Legislature
District 2

For more information about sustainability in the Tompkins County area, please 
visit:  http://www.sustainabletompkins.org/
If you have questions about this list please contact the list manager, Tom 
Shelley, at t...@cornell.edu.

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