WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Incinerator company sues Finger Lakes resident, town boards

Jun 20, 2018
Originally published on June 13, 2018 11:36 am

A Rochester company is suing the town of Romulus for the way it changed its zoning rules to ban trash incinerators. The lawsuit names the town council, the zoning board and one resident.


The company, Circular enerG, wants to build a trash incinerator near Seneca Lake in Romulus. They say the town violated state law when it made changes to its zoning code to prohibit incinerators like theirs.

At the heart of the suit is a 2017 letter signed by the town’s zoning officer.

It says the trash incinerator would be considered a renewable energy project because it would generate electricity and not produce harmful emissions.

When residents in one neighborhood found out about the letter, they didn’t like it.

One of them filed an appeal to the Romulus zoning board asking them to reject calling the incinerator a renewable energy project. The company says he had no right to file an appeal.

“Citizens, who frankly don’t seem to understand the real science, came out against the project,” said Alan Knauf, lawyer for Circular enerG. “One citizen who lives four miles away filed an appeal, which was months too late, not allowed under state law.”

That citizen is Alan Kiehle. To him, the company’s claims don’t tell the whole story.

“They say I’m a long ways away from the plant,” he said. “But I’m right next to where they’re proposing to do the water plant work which would involve a lot of construction.”

That water plant would draw about half a million gallons of water from Seneca Lake each day -- water the incinerator would need to operate.

The project has opposition from residents, other Finger Lakes municipalities and elected officials.

A hearing is set for late July.

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