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Harckham Calls for Hearing on Waste Incinerator Permit Renewal

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State Senator Pete Harckham has requested a public hearing be held as part of the process to renew a permit for the operation of the waste incinerator plant at Charles Point in the City of Peekskill.

Opened in 1984, the Wheelabrator Westchester plant, which processes about 90% of the county’s daily trash total, is one of the nation’s oldest waste incinerator facilities. In October 2019, the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities extended the contract for the plant, but the required Title V air permit has expired and is currently under consideration for renewal.

In a letter sent last week to Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Harckham stated the waste incinerator plant “is in an Environmental Justice Community and contributes greatly to the environmental burden that residents face. Peekskill and the surrounding communities are host to several facilities that impact the environment, including Indian Point, the AIM pipeline and the Westchester Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

He added, “In view of the environmental burdens that the residents face, the DEC should have a public discussion to hear their comments, concerns and questions.”

According to Wheelabrator Westchester LP, it “processes” more than 2,000 tons of waste each day, and the resulting energy—60 megawatts of electricity converted from steam—is enough to power more than 63,000 homes.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Regardless of what is being burned (mixed municipal solid waste, plastic, outputs from “chemical recycling”), waste incineration creates and/or releases harmful chemicals and pollutants, including: air pollutants such as particulate matter, which cause lung and heart diseases; heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which cause neurological diseases; and toxic chemicals, such as PFAS and dioxins, which cause cancer and other health problems.”

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