Note: This series concerns a proposal to use incineration to recycle lithium-ion batteries. It was proposed for Endicott in Broome County NY. The proposal resulted in the formation of the group NoBurnBroome on April 15, 2020, to oppose the proposal, which it successfully accomplished in February 2021. The Fluoride Action Network was interested in this project because the novel use of incineration to recoup valuable metals would be a new, and non-assessed, exposure route to large amounts of hydrogen fluoride. Index to the series is here.
February 9, 2020. Letter: Battery recycling plant would be dangerous. Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, page 12A. By Olwen Searles.
April 15, 2020. NoBurnBroome.com was formed by the residents of Broome County NY on April 15, 2020, to organize opposition to the use of incineration in the proposed lithium-ion battery reycling project in Endicott. The initial name for the group was Stop Incineration in the Southern Tier, but it quickly changed to No Burn Broome because the first name was too long for a website domain name.
April 20, 2020. What happened at the April 20th Public Hearing
•• Approximately 70 people signed into the Zoom meeting
•• The Mayor then cancelled the hearing on the basis that she had questions for the DEC. She never shared what those questions were about.
April 29, 2020. Press Conference at Logan Field, next to the facility
See the location of the facility by drone video. Courtesy of Cody Malchak.
In the photo the two stacks are atop the proposed Sungeel carcinogen-emitting facility.
The floodlights for the baseball field are between the two stacks.
April 29, 2020 Press Conference. Photo by Vera Scroggins.
May 7, 2020. The Trustees vote of May 7
What happened at the Public Hearing at Village of Endicott Board of Trustees meeting:
•• Approximately 250 people signed in to the Hearing
•• 57 people spoke out against the Vote
•• One person spoke in favor, but with reservations
•• Click to Watch it in its entirety on You Tube (4:48:40)
•• Online Press & Sun Bulletin article
•• Read the Press Release we sent out on May 5.
Endicott’s Village Trustees voted 3-2 for the Zoning change to allow the Lithium-ion battery recycle-incineration facility to operate in Endicott. Two trustees voted against the Zoning change: Ted Warner and Patrick Dorner. 290 people signed into this Zoom meeting. The vote is being held in abeyance to allow the counting of signatures on the Supermajority Petition.
The Trustees who voted for the Zoning Change said that they trusted the DEC to protect them. Had the residents of Endicott known about this trust they would have told their Board members that the DEC’s Air Permit, legally allowing the release of known human carcinogens, was of no protection to them, and that Endicott residents are still suffering with the cancers caused from chemicals released years ago from IBM and others in Endicott.
May 13, 2020: The NoBurnBroome attorney calls upon the Village Board to rescind the vote.
We need everyone to ask officials, representing Endicott, for Help!
THANK YOU Senator Fred Akshar II for responding to requests. In his May 15, 2020 letter to the Mayor he asked:
“..before any formal decisions are made by the Village Board regarding the approval or disapproval of this project, I believe it’d be prudent to hear all sides of the argument and make sure our constituents’ perspectives are being taken into consideration.”
We need an immediate intervention from those who have a responsibility to protect the Village of Endicott. From one-on-one conversations with key officials we are finding that they were unaware of the serious dangers posed by this project. We ask that you please email, or send a letter, to the officials listed below asking for their help. You can use these sample letters for ideas, or just copy & paste. If you do the latter, please write an opening sentence explaining how long you have lived in the area.
NY Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo <LupardoD@nyassembly.gov>
NY State Senator Fred Akshar <email@example.com>
County Legislator Greg W. Baldwin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Broome Health Director Rebecca Kaufman <BCHealth@broomecounty.us>
May 16, 2020. Press Conference: Don’t Burn Our Future
The organizers LeeAnna Adams, Lindsey Smolinsky and Mackenzie Forkey at the May 16 Press Conference. Photo by Jared Smolinsky. See more photos here
See the location of the facility by drone video . Courtesy of Cody Malchak.
Dear Mayor Jackson & Deputy Mayor Chapman
In response to your Opinion piece published on May 17, 2020 “Battery recycling part of building green economy“
Are the carcinogens identified in the DEC Air Permit part of your Green Economy for Endicott?
May 18, 2020: Village of Endicott Board Meeting – YouTube
May 21, 2020: Press Release. DEC Delivers Setback to Endicott’s Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Scheme
May 28, 2020: 154 Environmental Groups signed letter to DEC Commissioner and Empire State Development Corporation head asking for withdrawal of $1.75 Million taxpayer subsidy and a Full Environmental Impact Statement.
See Letter signed by the 154 organizations.
See Press Release. 154 Environmental Groups From Around the World Raise Serious Concerns About Proposed Lithium Battery Incinerator Proposed in Endicott, New York.
June 3, 2020. News article: Endicott lithium-ion battery plant to get another DEC review on toxic substance. Press & Sun-Bulletin.
June 3, 2020. Press Release: No Burn Broome Responds to Monday night’s Endicott Trustees meeting. No Burn Broome
June 7, 2020. Opinion: Let’s keep an open mind on Endicott plant. By David Loewen.
June 7, 2020. Letter: People should vote on Endicott plant. By John Vasilchik.
July 1, 2020. Recording: June 30, 2020 SungEel public Q&A
July 2, 2020. Recording: NoBurnBroome People’s Town Hall July 2, 2020.
July 3, 2020. Review of SungEel MCC’s Community Information Meeting June 30, 2020. No Burn Broome
July 19, 2020. Letter: Endicott leaders have troubles with listening. By Rita Foran. Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page A11.
July 23, 2020. NoBurnBroome sent out a Press Release on a report we received from a South Korean environmental group on SungEel’s operation there: “The working conditions are poor, which results in frequent quitting of workers.”
July 25, 2020. NoBurnBroome led a march against SungEel’s battery-incinerator. The July 25 march was a success! We had a great turnout. 85 people marched from Logan Field to 801 Clark St, the site of the proposed operation.
Solidarity and creativity infused the day while singing attempted to lead the way with “We Don’t Want Incineration” to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and an easier popular version of: “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Sungeel Has Got to Go.” To add to the excitement, the march was filmed by Michael and Nicholas Yacovoni which included a video by drone. The brothers will enter their submission into Life in a Day of July 25 – an international project headed up by film director Ridley Scott. Spectrum News sent a news reporter from Ithaca and the interview captured the spirit of the march – it’s available here.
The following video is from Michael Yacovoni and Nicholas Yacovoni
July 30, 2020. Public Hearing Held by Zoning Board of Appeals: “Regarding an appeal of an alleged zoning determination related to a battery recycling business called SungEel MCC Americas, LLC on property at 801 Clark Street in Endicott, New York.“ The ZBA did not make a ruling and the Code Enforcement Officer committed to checking out the situation at the SungEel building. Public hearing was rescheduled for August 20th at 6pm.
August 24, 2020. DEC rebuts concerns by battery recycling opponents. By NC 34 Staff. Binghamton Homepage. This article contains a response from NoBurnBroome.
August 26, 2020. Press Release: Mini-March/Vigil Against SungEel’s Battery-Incinerator Project in Endicott Thursday, August 27 AND Endicott Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting Thursday, August 27. Press release from NoBurnBroome.
August 27, 2020. NoBurnBroome Continues Protests Against Battery Recycling Facility.
August 27, 2020. Open Letter from State Senator Frederick J. Akshar II et al. to the New York DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. Co-signers: Daniel Reynolds, Chair, Broome County Legislature, and Broome County Legislators Matthew Pasquale (7th District) and Greg Baldwin (6th District).
Excerpt: “In order to full understand the potential impacts, we’d request that the DEC prepare a full environmental impact statement under State Environmental Quality Review Act requirements and that the community be fully engaged in the process to ensure that residents have the opportunity to express concerns and have quest ions answered. Residents of our community deserve nothing less than the most stringent and thorough review o f the potential environmental and public health impacts of this proposed facility before it is approved to move forward.”
August 31, 2020. NEWS ARTICLE. No Burn Broome issues position paper on opposition to battery recycling facility. By NC 34 Staff. Binghamton Homepage.
September 2, 2020. Town of Union Request That Endicott Not Move Forward with SungEel.
September 3, 2020. Press Release. Town of Union gives support to NoBurnBroome’s concerns on SungEel Project . No Burn Broome
The decision was unanimous on September 2. The Town of Union council members voted 5 to 0 for a resolution recommending the Village of Endicott slow down its rush to allow the SungEel company to operate a high temperature lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Endicott
September 9, 2020. Study discusses battery recycling method that is safer, greener than the one proposed by SungEel.
Exciting science study that sets the standard for model research for sustainability and a circular economy. Instead of using a high-temperature process as SungEel’s, which will inevitably result in the release of very toxic gases into the environment, this process dissolves the valuable metals out of the batteries using a combination of dried orange peel powder and citric acid. Both of these are obtained from food waste. This is a win-win solution for the environment because one waste stream can be used to recover valuable materials from another.
September 10, 2020. DOD is spending millions, getting rid of toxic foam by burning it near where people live. By Joce Sterman, Alex Brauer and Andrea Nejman, Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Read this excellent news segment on the dangers of burning toxic firefighting foam (AFFF) containing PFAS. It is running nationwide on local Sinclair stations. The reporter did a good job on this story, which will reach millions.
The NYS Legislature unanimously passed a bill to permanently prohibit burning toxic firefighting foam at Norlite incinerator in Cohoes on June 9, 2020. It is unclear if Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign or veto the legislation. Please contact Governor Cuomo and urge him to sign NYS Senate bill 7880 into law. Governor Cuomo can be reached at 866 946 1451 or go to governor.ny.gov and click on the contact section. He is also on Twitter at @NYGovCuomo or NYS Capitol Albany, NY 12224.
September 13, 2020. Letter. Has Endicott learned from its past?. Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. By Ellen Tiberi.
September 16, 2020. Press Release: NY Assemblywoman Lupardo Joins Environmental Groups in Calling for EIS on Battery Recycler
September 16, 2020. The NoBurnBroome Science team held a press conference to release NoBurnBroome’s official response to the much cited August 1, 2020 letter from Tom Elter (NYS DEC) to John Ruspantini (http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/endicott.nbb-response-to-dec.elter_.9-16-20.pdf). In our response we revealed that nearly ALL of these batteries contain PFAS and we called on the DEC to revoke SungEel’s Air permit. To access the press conference recording, see Nearly all lithium-ion batteries contain PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
September 22, 2020. Open letter from State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo to New York DEC
Excerpt: “Today, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, joined several environmental groups in calling upon the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed SungEel MMC Americas LLC (SMCC) lithium-ion battery recycling facility slated for Endicott, NY. Lupardo was joined by the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, and No Burn Broome.”
September 27, 2020. Letter: Some questions for the mayor on Endicott proposal. Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. Your Turn. By Olwen Searles.
October 10, 2020. Look who’s against battery plant. Letter-to-the-Editor by Rob Tiberi. Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
Excerpt: “The incinerator that Endicott Deputy Mayor Cheryl Chapman and Mayor Linda Jackson want in the center of Endicott is opposed by everyone. Some oppose the outright audacity of the idea. Others ask for a full Environmental Impact Statement or for open forums so the public can understand the dangerous dioxins and PFAS that will be spewed into the air. Below are those who are publicly against the incinerator or demand more studies or information:
1. Online petition with 4,500 anti-incinerator signatures.
2. Facebook group with 2,000 anti-incinerator followers.
3. Union-Endicott School Board — letter to Mayor Jackson on May 6.
4. 57 anti-incinerator residents spoke against it at the May 7 public hearing.
5. 160 anti-incinerator signatures of property owners bordering the Industrial zone.
6. State Sen. Fred Akshar — open letter, Aug. 27.
7. Broome County Legislator Matt Pasquale — open letter, Aug. 27.
8. Broome County Legislator Greg Baldwin — open letter, Aug. 27.
9. Town of Union Council Resolution was unanimous, 5-0, on Sept. 2.
10. State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo — open letter, Sept. 22.
Excerpt: “There is nothing constructive the anti-battery people can accomplish with all their lies and misleading information. They have no facts to prove this is not a safe process. Many have said they do not care how safe this is, they do not want any industry in the village, even though this has been an industrial area for over 100 years. EJ’s factories were there long before the houses and ballfields.”
November 1, 2020. Making Endicott a business-friendly village. OpEd by Nick Burlingame. Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
November 1, 2020. Trustees should work for residents. OpEd by Pat Dorner. Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
November 1, 2020.Responses about battery plant. Letter-to-the-Editor by Paul Connett. Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
November 1, 2020. Mayor makes incorrect statements. Letter-to-the-Editor by Ellen Connett.Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
NoBurnBroome supported these candidates for Endicott’s village council – and they won by a landslide. This led to a dramatic change in the village board – from one that supported incineration to a non-incinerator one. The new board convened in January 2021 and the following month the incineration project was over!
November 3, 2020. Many of the candidates we supported for re-election won!
Pat Dorner and Nick Burlingame were elected to Endicott Trustee, thus turning the 5-person board to one that will side with the residents. In the Town of Union, Tom Augostini and Frank Bertoni were re-elected to the Council, as was Terry Kellogg in Chenango. Jason Shaw won the Legislator spot for District 8.
November 5, 2020. Endicott election results could derail lithium-ion battery recycling plant. By Jeff Platsky, Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
November 16, 2020. Endicott Residents Start Lawsuit Against Recycling Zoning Law.
Dec 20, 2020. Letter: Battery opponents do want industry for Endicott. By Carol Layton, Guest Columnist. Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY.
January 7, 2021. NEWS ARTICLE. Update on Endicott battery recycling project. Binghamton Homepage (NY).
January 15, 2021. NEWS ARTICLE. Upcoming Village of Endicott meeting could bring big changes to recycling laws. By Katie Jones. WBNG-12 News (Binghamton NY).
February 1, 2021. Press Release: Tonight at 6 PM: Public Hearing to Rescind Endicott’s Controversial Recycling Law. From NoBurnBroome.
February 1, 2021. News Article: Village of Endicott trustees vote to rescind controversial recycling law. By Katie Jones. WBNG-TV (Johnson City NY).
February 1, 2021. News Article: The Village of Endicott Holds Another Public Hearing in an Attempt to Rescind Recycling Law. By Paul Beam. Fox 40 News (Binghamton NY).
February 2, 2021. News Article: Residents and leaders react to Endicott’s decision to rescind recycling law. By Katie Jones. WBNG-TV (Johnson City NY).
February 2, 2021. News Article: Battery recycling facility will not come to Endicott, mayor says. By Matthew Benninger. WBNG-TV (Johnson City NY).
February 2, 2021. News Article: Endicott mayor denies inappropriate behavior during Monday’s public hearing. By Katie Jones. WBNG-TV (Johnson City NY).
February 3, 2021. News Article: Some Endicott residents call for Mayor Linda Jackson to resign following behavior on Monday night Zoom meeting. Binghamton Homepage.
February 4, 2021. News Article: Episode 4: Inside Li-Cycle’s Rochester, NY Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Facility. By Stefanie Valentic. Waste360.
•See the YouTube video that tours the no-burn facility in Rochester at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=D05dw-0Y55E&feature=emb_logo
February 7, 2021. Letter: Never give up: Mission accomplished in Endicott. By Olwen Searles, Guest columnist. Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page A12.
February 7, 2021. Letter: How opponents turned back SungEel project. By Paul and Ellen Connett, Guest columnists. Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page A12.
February 7, 2021. Letter: Democracy triumphs in Endicott. By Rita Foran. Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton NY, page A13.
March 22, 2021. NEWS ARTICLE. Company Abandons Plan for Battery Recycling Plant in Endicott. Spectrum News (Broome County, NY).
March 22, 2021. NEWS ARTICLE. SungEel gives up battery recycling project. Binghamton Homepage, NY.
March 22, 2021. NEWS ARTICLE. SungEel Won’t Pursue Battery Recycling Facility in Endicott. By Vaughn Golden. WSKG (Vestal NY), National Public Radio.
April 9, 2021. Letter from Regional Permit Administrator of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to Danish Mir, president of Sungeel MCC Americas LLC, acknowledging the surrender of the Air Permit.
Index to the Endicott NY campaign, 2020-2021
Part 1: The proposal in Endicott NY
Part 7: News – National & International
Part 10: What are PFAS?