ENDICOTT (WBNG) -- An air state facility permit awaiting approval for SungEel MCC Americas' proposed lithium ion battery recycling facility was granted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The permit allows the company to construct and operate a lithoum ion battery recycling plant. The facility is now one step closer to beginning operations at 801 Clark St. on Endicott's Huron Campus.
A spokesperson for the New York State DEC told 12 News on Wednesday:
"Following a careful review and transparent public process, on March 27, 2020, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued an Air State Facility Permit and a Solid Waste Management Facility (Recycling) Registration to Sungeel MCC Americas, LLC (SMCC) to construct and operate a lithium-ion battery recycling facility in the Huron Campus in the village of Endicott, Broome County. DEC determined the emissions/operations in the application to be in full compliance with New York’s stringent rules and regulations governing air emissions, which are fully protective of public health and the environment."
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.
SungEel MCC Americas says it would be the first of its kind facility here in the United States. The company's joint venture partner, SungEel HiTech, currently operates a similar facility in South Korea. Much of the concern around the plant comes from the history of lithium ion batteries. They are known to be highly flammable and linked to fires and injuries across the U.S.
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.
Back in February, Endicott Mayor Linda Jackson told 12 News she had some concerns about the facility, since she had not been contacted by the company when she moved into office. After the permit was issued, Jackson told 12 News she is hiring an environmental specialist to independently look at this DEC permit and the process. "With our village's contamination past, I understand everyone being scared," she said. "I am hoping for more time to finish the investigation we started, before anything is, or is not done."
12 News reached out to SungEel MCC Americas, but has not yet gotten a response. Stay with 12 News for the latest on this developing story.