COEYMANS – A proposal is under consideration in the state of Connecticut that if enacted, could bring 116,000 tons of trash to the LafargeHolcim cement plant for burning each year.
Connecticut officials are looking for a new way to dispose of its solid waste after its outdated incinerator in Hartford is shut down. The incinerator serves 70 towns in Connecticut.
The issue first came to light locally when attorney Mike Ewall, executive director of the Energy Justice Network, brought it to the attention of the Coeymans Town Council.
“Mustang Renewable Power Ventures has proposed to remove some recyclables and ship the trash to be burned in LafargeHolcim’s cement plant in your community,” Ewall wrote in a letter to the town council.
There are currently two other proposals in the works to deal with the waste, according to Ewall, including rebuilding the Hartford incinerator, which Ewall contends is unlikely. The other is shipping the waste to another incinerator, which would need to be expanded to accommodate the additional trash.
“That’s a likely winner, but perhaps not as likely as moving their problem out of state – to your community,” Ewall wrote to Coeymans town officials.
The Coeymans Town Council has issued a statement expressing its opposition to transporting Connecticut’s trash to Coeymans for disposal.
“The town board is unequivocally opposed to the burning of any or all garbage in our community,” the statement, dated Dec. 15, reads.
A decision is expected on the plans for Connecticut’s trash by Dec. 31 of this year. However, the Coeymans town board was not notified beforehand that Lafarge could be chosen for the trash disposal, according to town officials.
“As we understand it, the vote on this is coming up very soon and we were notified by an outside lawyer from Connecticut,” the statement reads. “We were not notified in advance nor were we consulted in this matter, which would greatly affect the air, soil and water quality in our area.”
According to Town Councilman Tom Dolan, the board did not find out about the proposal until Ewall contacted them last Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Dolan said the town council expects to adopt a resolution officially opposing the plan before the end of the year.
He expressed dismay at the proposition.
“When I spoke at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the upgrade at LaFarge, I thanked LaFarge for their openness, communication, and commitment to improving the local environment,” Dolan wrote in an email to Katherine Keslick, area environment and public affairs manager for LafargeHolcim. “Unfortunately, I feel the plan to burn garbage in Coeymans renders my words obsolete.”
In the RFP response, or request for proposal, submitted by Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, the Lafarge plant in Ravena is named as a possible solution to the state’s trash disposal problem.
The document states that the mixed waste would be segregated and screened to produce a “Process Engineered Fuel” as “an alternative, renewable fuel for cement kilns, specifically the LafargeHolcim cement plant in Ravena, NY.”
“LafargeHolcim has indicated a willingness to execute a PEF purchase agreement,” according to the document. “PEF production is projected to be ~116,000 TPY (tons per year).”
According to the document, the original proposal would have prepared the Process Engineered Fuel onsite prior to its being shipped, but that plan changed.
“The current plan calls for baling the material and shredding it at the Holcim site,” according to the document.
Company representatives from LafargeHolcim could not be reached for comment at press time.
This is not the first time Coeymans and Ravena have put up opposition to plans for trash to be transported to the area for disposal. Roughly 20 years ago, the community rose up in vehement opposition over a proposed garbage dump that was being considered. Opponents to that plan were able to thwart it.