NEW YORK_____Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed into law the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act (S.2270A/A.5029A), which prohibits the siting of a waste-to-energy facility in the Finger Lakes Watershed. The law is intended to preserve communities, sensitive ecosystems and the region’s economy by protecting farmers and local wineries in the Finger Lakes from adverse environmental impacts.
“The Finger Lakes region remains one of New York’s must-see destinations with some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world. It is crucial that we protect it,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are not willing to put the region’s economy, public health and quality of life at risk.”
“This new law advances our efforts to preserve and protect communities in the Finger Lakes that attract visitors year-round,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The Community Preservation Act will help to ensure that the area’s ecosystem and natural resources are not contaminated. Businesses, farms, and vineyards continue to grow the tourism industry in the region, and we are committed to building on our efforts to strengthen the economy and keep the environment clean and safe for years to come.”
Under the law, waste-to-energy facilities will be prohibited from receiving a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need if the facility is: within the Oswego River/Finger Lakes Watershed; there is at least one landfill or other Department of Environmental Conservation permitted solid waste management facility operating or located within a 50-mile radius of the facility; and within 10 miles of a state-designated priority water body, pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law.
New York State took a significant step in the FY 2020 Budget to help reduce waste destined for landfills, fight climate change and boost food donation with the Food Donation and Food Scrap Recycling Act, which launches a new organics recycling program. The measure requires many of the state’s largest generators of food waste to separate food scraps into wholesome food that can be donated to those in need and food to be transported for organics recycling, such as through composting. Organic materials make up about 30 percent of municipal waste, comprising more than three million tons per year.
Senator Rachel May said, “Protection of the Finger Lakes is a crucial issue for Central New York’s health and well being. We rely on these lakes for drinking water, recreation, tourism, and a thriving winery industry. Thank you to the Governor for recognizing the importance of protecting this region from incinerator projects that put our people, environment, and economy in harm’s way.”
Assembly Member Michael Cusick said, “Today’s bill signing is step forward for New York and the Finger Lakes region specifically. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in blocking harmful projects from being built in environmentally sensitive regions.”
Senator Pam Helming said “I join the business owners, environmental advocates, and residents across the Finger Lakes region in celebrating the signing of the Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act into law. The support for this legislation of people from a variety of interests and backgrounds is a clear sign that garbage incinerators are not welcome in the Finger Lakes region. A garbage incinerator would devastate the surrounding communities and negatively impact our health and our environment. As a region, we believe in clean water, clean air, and a high quality of life for our children and families and we fought hard to make our voices heard and protect our lakes and natural resources from harm. This is just one example of what we can accomplish when we set aside our differences and work together in a bipartisan effort for the good of our communities. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for joining our fight and partnering with us to move this important legislation forward.”
Senator Tom O’Mara said, “I have appreciated and welcomed the opportunity over the past two years to join legislative colleagues from across the Finger Lakes region to fight for this critical new law. These trash incinerators are a serious threat to the quality, health, and overall safety of many communities throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. The Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act is a great credit to everyone who worked together and with all of us to secure its enactment, including winery owners, farmers, business and community leaders, and many concerned citizens.”
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said, “The Finger Lakes Community Preservation Act is now law, and a testament to the incredible resolve, unwavering commitment, and heartfelt passion people demonstrated to protect this incredible area. Preserving the unique natural landscape of the Finger Lakes Region will bolster our economic health and quality of life, while keeping small business, viticulture and hospitality sectors successful. This is wonderful news for our home region, and I commend all of the community organizations, local and state officials, and grassroots volunteers who made this critical bill a reality.”
Assembly Member Phil Palmesano said, “Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this very important piece of legislation in order preserve the character, quality of life and vibrancy of the Finger Lakes Region and to ensure it can continue to thrive. I want thank my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate on both sides of the aisle, from the Finger Lakes Region to New York City, who worked as a team to get this done. I am so grateful for all their help, commitment and effort. Finally, I am so thankful and proud of our local governments, the business community, environmental communities and local residents who worked so hard to get this done. This bill would not have happened without everyone from the Finger Lakes coming together. This is a great day for the Finger Lakes Region!”
Waste reduction initiatives like the Food Donation and Scrap Recycling Act, the ban on single-use plastic bags, and the recent approval of the first stand-alone large-scale anaerobic digester in the New York City metropolitan area are part of New York’s comprehensive strategy to prevent solid waste generation through changes in behavior and changes in products, packaging and purchasing. For more information on how consumers and manufacturers can reduce waste, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.
Throughout his administration, Governor Cuomo has made the environment a top priority. Earlier this year, the Governor announced in his FY 2020 Budget historic commitments to drinking water infrastructure, a nation-leading clean energy plan to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40-percent by 2030, and grow the state’s solar power industry.