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DIGGING DEEPER: Endicott officials demand answers before battery recycling facility moves in

By on December 8, 2020

first_imgENDICOTT (WBNG) — As the permit process moves forward for a proposed battery recycling facility in Endicott, the mayor is saying not so fast. 12 News also reached out to New York’s Empire State Development, which back in 2018, announced $1.75 million dollars in funding to bring the battery recycling facility to Endicott. Many residents have asked why the company wants to operate in Endicott, here’s what officials from Empire State Development told 12 News in an email: The DEC told 12 News on Feb. 12: “There is just so many more questions, not only the safety but the safety of the residents when storing these batteries. These batteries are very flammable and here you are talking about storing a lot of them in a small area,” said Chapman. “It seems a little unfair if they’re going to be giving out a permit but they don’t want to be held responsible, so it made us a little nervous,” she told 12 News. Public records issued by the DEC about the SungEel HiTech plant in South Korea show dozens of toxic chemicals could be involved in the recycling process. SungEel MCC Americas told 12 News emissions will be monitored, controlled and tested to meet air quality standards. Deputy Mayor Cheryl Chapman says safety is her top concern. She attended the public meeting held in the fall and says she’s been researching the possible dangers associated with lithium ion batteries. SungEel MCC Americas is currently renting the property at 801 Clark St. on the Huron campus. Endicott Mayor Linda Jackson says a draft permit was sent to her by the DEC just a few weeks ago. If approved, that would allow SungEel MCC Americas to begin operations on its’ battery recycling facility. For Searles, however, she says any amount of emissions are enough to make her want to leave the neighborhood altogether. “I don’t want to move, but I also don’t want to live next to a toxic chemical plant either,” said Searles. 12 News reached out to the DEC for a copy of the permit draft and are still waiting for a response. As the permit awaits approval, the mayor says she has some concerns. “We hadn’t gotten any information, no one had ever contacted the village since the recycling incinerator was supposed to be here. You would think they would have mentioned it to us, but they did not,” Jackson told 12 News. Olwen Searles, who lives just a few blocks from the facility, says she has concerns. “It seems like we’re going to be the toxic dumping ground,” said Searles. “Which I don’t know why. Why Endicott? It just seems wrong.” Jackson has been in office since January. She says considering Endicott’s history with contamination, the village needs more time before a decision is made. “We have to do our due diligence,” said Jackson. “There’s been so many other problems in the village over the years that we have 12 thousand residents to consider over their health and safety.” The mayor said just a few weeks ago, the DEC sent her a draft air state facility permit which states the DEC would be “held harmless” if anything were to go wrong. The company’s CEO, Danish Mir, told 12 News in an email, the prior mayor was “fully aware of the project.” We spoke to former Mayor John Bertoni back in December, in regards to the concerns over the facility he said, “Evironmentalists, those who have some objections to it, do come to the meetings and you certainly have to listen and if they’re right well find out.” SungEel MCC Americas plans to recycle lithium ion batteries. The company says it would be the first of its kind facility here in the United States. SungEel MCC America’s joint venture partner, SungEel HiTech, currently operates a similar facility in South Korea. Lithium ion batteries are known to be highly flammable and linked to fires and injuries across the U.S. Jackson said if SungEel MCC America’s will not hold additonal public meetings, the village will hold its own hearings to allow residents to express their concerns. Moving forwad, SungEel MCC Americas says there are currently “no plans for additional meetings.” Chapman told 12 News, “We will demand that they have public hearings because they have to.” Many residents are charged up over the safety of the facility, after dozens of public comments were submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation expressing concern. “DEC’s rigorous review of the public comments received on the permit application during our extensive public outreach period is ongoing. Following  completion of our review, DEC will prepare a responsiveness summary to address all comments received prior to making a final determination on the permit application.” “ESD learned of the proposed project and worked with the company to ensure we could retain their talent and future growth in the Southern Tier, ultimately offering an incentive package. ESD’s incentives, which are performance-based and tied directly to job creation commitments, were offered to support the project and ensure it happened here instead of another state.  The Huron Campus and its existing infrastructure are well positioned to attract new companies and, alongside other battery/energy storage businesses, we are building an industry cluster that will grow the local workforce and help to attract more business from the industry.With regard to the air quality question, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting a thorough review of the air emissions from the project through the air permit process to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. While ESD does not regulate emissions, we did our due diligence on this project which included reviewing the current technology in place in South Korea, where it utilizes pollution controls to help ensure no significant air emissions.”last_img read more

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Johnson City woman fed up with illegal fireworks

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first_imgThe Johnson City Police Department says that while larger fireworks designed to go up in the air are illegal in New York State, even if you are setting off legal devices like sparklers, you can be charged with disorderly conduct if they are shot off at an unreasonable hour or cause a disturbance to the neighborhood. “It’s not just the animals, it’s essential employees that are working in hospitals trying to save people that aren’t getting rest, it’s children who can’t sleep, it’s war veterans so it’s effecting the whole community I feel like,” she said. JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — One Johnson City woman is saying enough is enough when it comes to illegal fireworks. She says she is organizing a petition as well as a meeting with local leaders in an effort to stop the nightly displays. She says while she herself is upset about the noise, she is also taking action on behalf of others who aren’t as comfortable speaking out. center_img She says fireworks in the area sometimes last up to three hours and continue until at least 3 a.m. Megin Donato tells 12 News that she’s recorded fireworks going off in her Johnson City neighborhood for the past seventeen nights.last_img read more

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What health alerts are still active in Broome County?

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first_imgOn Thursday, the Broome County Health Department issued four alerts regarding COVID-19 exposure at a church and restaurants. Broome County Health Director Rebecca Kaufman says the alerts are made to notifying the public and keep people safe. (WBNG) — The Broome County Health Department has issued numerous public health statements since the pandemic began. However, some of the older alerts are no longer active. A full list of all alerts can be found by clicking here.center_img She says they were expecting cases in the county to rise with the economy opening back up. The health department says it is prepared to handle an influx of cases in the county if necessary.last_img read more

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Anonymous donor sends gift after hearing of stolen lawn mower

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first_imgAs soon as possible, Gordon took his lawnmower out for a spin, cutting his own grass. “It gets me out, get some fresh air, gets me some exercise. That’s the main thing. Sit [inside], and you don’t last long,” said Gordon. After 12 News shared the story, in less than 24 hours a shiny, new, red Craftsman was delivered by the Broome County Sheriff’s Office to Gordon. The gift was made by an anonymous donor. HARPURSVILLE (WBNG) — 85-year-old Gordon Blakeslee had his red Craftsman riding lawn mower stolen off his front lawn at his Harpursville home. Gordon says he was shocked by the gesture. He never expected to receive this much attention about his missing lawnmower. “I couldn’t be any more thankful. With everything going on, I know he’s happier than happy to have a mower back,” said Garrett Blakeslee, Gordon’s grandson. “Thank you, what else can I say, I really appreciate it,” said Gordon. “It’s got some new upgrades to it, that’s a lot better than my old one.” To prevent this lawnmower from being stolen, Gordon is having security cameras installed, and he will be keeping the new mower under lock and key. Simply wanting his riding lawn mower back, he made a sign in front of his home, asking for it to be returned. “There are still some good people out there,” said Gordon. For Gordon, mowing the lawn isn’t just a weekend chore. It’s his chance to have his own independence back, after spending months in quarantine. The kind of actions of one stranger turned this ‘wrong’ into a ‘right’. last_img read more

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Police investigating church burglary in town of Homer

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first_imgThe Homer Police Department said in a Facebook post that checks and money were taken from the church sometime around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 to 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 22. Anyone with information regarding the burglary is asked to contact the Homer Police Department at 607-749-2022. TOWN OF HOMER, N.Y. (WBNG) — Authorities in the town of Homer are investigating a burglary that occurred at the Homer Congressional Church.center_img Police in the Cortland County town are asking residents in the area to check their security cameras for any footage of a suspect.last_img read more

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