COVANTA has filed a new Title V permit application to raise the 975,000 tons per year of solid waste into 6,000,000 tons of steam. What this means at this point, we don’t know but will be in contact with Covanta to obtain some answers.
Covanta has decided to postpone its expansion of the Westbury plant, citing economic reasons for the delay. Covanta advised that the factors involved were low tipping fees, a tax break from the Town of Hempstead was not as favorable as thought, and the rate it could charge National Grid for power was not as high as predicted. As a result, and also because the State is putting pressure on the local governments on Long Island for increased recycling, the project has been put on hold.
STATE SENATOR KEMP HANNON ADVISES IDA AND TOWN BOARD OF COMMUNITIES OPPOSITION TO COVANTA EXAPANSION
In a letter to residents of Westbury, New York State Senator Kemp Hannon stated he has advised the IDA of the Town of Hempstead and the Hempstead Town Board of the opposition of the community to the Covanta expansion of its Westbury Plant. While falling far short of expressing his opposition to the expansion, Senator Hannon did make clear the arguments of opponents to the project while sidestepping any personal opposition to the project. Please contact Senator Hannon at Hannon@senate.state.ny.us and let him know that he should be supporting our opposition to the Covanta plant expansion.
On November 19th and 20th, 2009 Covanta hosted an information session on its proposed expansion of the plant in Westbury, New York. The exhibition consisted of various boards produced by Covanta outlining its proposal to expand the plant and basically, how wonderful it will be for the Town of Hempstead. Clearly the session was designed with the purpose of downplaying any potential concerns regarding the expansion of the plant.
Conversations with plant officials were informative since in order to oppose the expansion project, we must be knowledgable as what Covanta is actually proposing. For example, the officials of Covanta indicated that during peak hours, the trucks waiting to deliver garbage to the plant must wait at least an hours, during which time their diesel engines cannot be shut off. When asked how this problem can be solved, the officials advised that they expect that all garbage trucks can be converted to natural gas fuel. When questioned about alternate entrances, we were told that if traffic signals are placed on Merchants Concourse, then the Department of Transportation has advised that the alternate Stewart Avenue entrance is not an option. If for some reason the expansion is approved, there would be no trucks running north of the plant on Merchants Concourse, but no other entrance for ingress and egress on Stewart Avenue. Also interesting is the fact that the stack is monitored only once a year by the State, the rest of the time the testing is done by an “independent” monitoring company paid by Covanta.
While Covanta officials feel their science is accurate and that they have the solutions to all the issues brought up by comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, it is clear that a) the science is flawed and b) the solutions are not in the best interest of the community.
The accompanying pages have links to various organizations and treatises on how the emissions from the plant are damaging to our health. One topic of considerable note is the effect of nano particles on our health. There is an excellent link on the side panel that describes what nano particles are, with graphs, illustrations and charts and how they effect our health.
What you will find is that the smaller the particle, the less chance it has of being trapped at the plant and more chance it has to make its way into your bloodstream. The larger the particle, the more chance it has of being trapped at the plant or being expelled from your airway at the upper part of the respiratory track. Once in your bloodsream, the potential effects on your health are at least, not good. So, please do not be taken in by claims that the plant expansion is not going to affect your health. Charts and risk assessments are only that, they are guesses as to what will happen. If we are going to guess what is going to happen, perhaps the guess should be made on the safe side, not on the side that makes Covanta millions.