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Assemblywoman Lupardo calls for environmental impact statement on proposed Endicott battery-recycling facility

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(WBNG) -- Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo joined environmental groups in calling upon the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct a full environmental impact statement for the proposed battery recycling facility in Endicott.

The DEC issued SungEel MMC Americas LLC an air state facility permit in March. In May, the DEC told SungEel that the permit would need to be modified after more information about poly-flouroakyl substances in lithium-ion batteries came out.

The new permit would need to go through a public review and comment period. That would only apply to the modified portions of the permit.

According to Lupardo's office, the DEC is currently waiting for the company to respond to their request for additional information regarding the poly-flouralkyl substances.

Lupardo says the initial announcement about the battery facility was well received, however, concerns about the environment surfaced over time.

"The goal was to create an “industry cluster” with world class battery  research and manufacturing interests present in the area," Lupardo said in a news release.

"But with time, a number of critical concerns have been raised by Endicott residents and local environmental groups who have contacted my office. After doing months of homework, and consulting with industry experts, I am convinced that a more detailed environmental review is needed by the DEC, especially now that the project permit is on hold," she said.

No Burn Broome, one of the environmental groups Lupardo joined, says it supports the recycling ion-lithium batteries, but not by a process that creates by-products.

The organization says it would support the environmental impact statement because they say it would allow the following:

  • A thorough exploration of the potential dangers of this "first of its kind operation" in the U.S
  • Due consideration of the impacts on an already health-compromised community
  • A formal exploration of the fire and explosion risks for the recycling facility, the storage facility, and transportation to and from the facility
  • An evaluation of alternatives to the proposed high temperature method of recycling
  • Public hearings at which the citizens of Endicott could express their feelings about this project

In addition to No Burn Broome, the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition also spoke out against the facility.

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Matthew Benninger

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