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 week. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. In good health, Anna *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 bags. 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 plastic. 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 akel...@tompkins-co.org www.annakelles.com 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.