In My View

Taylor’s Deception: An Incincerator by Any Other Name is — Not A Rose

The total love fest that has surrounded Taylor Biogas’ plans for its Montgomery facility overlooks some fundamental problems that make the project undesirable and unpermitable. We came late to realizing this because, like most folks, we trusted that Taylor was creating a green biogasification project along the lines of his original ideas. And until I started reading the Environmental Impact Statement and realized my error, I was ready to look kindly on a local boy making good. But trusting the likeable Mr. Taylor was clearly a mistake. At some point, the project morphed. The actual plan now is to build a huge garbage incinerator fueled, in part with biogas. The biogasification is no longer the core of the project. Make no mistake—this is a garbage incinerator!

So what is wrong with that?

In a nutshell:

  1. Waste cycling and recovery does not occur with incinerators because you burn the entire waste stream. Besides the fact that this is profoundly bad environmentally, it is also in contravention of New York law, as we will demonstrate in the administrative permit hearing we are demanding.
  2. Garbage incinerators pollute, releasing the nastiest toxins known. Now this incinerator has some nifty safeguards and other bells and whistles. But it has the potential to harm a lot of Orange County residents downwind.
  3. And, finally, there is the matter of incinerator ash, a toxic substance produced in abundance that must go somewhere. We plan to raise the ash and pollution issues as well.

Now you may have noticed that Orange County quickly moved to simplify recycling (no need to separate if it all gets burned) and to designate Taylor as the destination for our waste. “We will take responsibility for our own wastes,” the County Executive proclaimed, something I have said for decades. However, this project is not the right answer for our wastes. You may have noticed that we have never searched for that answer. Diana’s words, of course, were premature because the County Solid Waste Plan cannot be altered by his decree. A full review will be required there, as well. And, low and behold, Diana’s plans may be in contravention of the same state laws as is Taylor’s project. Also infuriating is the well known fact that Mr. Taylor has contributed generously to Mr. Diana’s campaigns. Is Mr. Diana concerned with taking responsibility for our wastes or paying back a big long term debt? That too must be considered.

Of course, because the incinerator word is never used, one could be easily fooled. And if you, like we, were suckered by Taylor, it is time, like us, to get mad as hell. This is clearly a case where Taylor decided that if he was truthful, no one in their right mind would have given the time of day, let alone millions in federal funds. So, instead, he portrayed his project as green when in fact it is sky black. The deception issue is no small one. The New York AG goes after car dealers all the time for deceptive advertising that is piddling next to this huge fraud. Just read the documents—100s of pages of them, and look for the “I” word. Scarce if there at all. The Town and the DEC went along, allowing the project to be called what it is not. However, on the crucial question of what permits are required, obviously the state was not fooled. The non-Incinerator requires air and solid waste permits fit for—an incinerator!

So wake up and smell the roses, er, the incinerator. And be careful who you trust.

Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D. is President of Orange Environment, Inc. www.orangenevironment.org.
You can still write to the Town of Montgomery and to the New York State DEC opposing this project. You will find the information on OE’s website.