The New York State Legislature adjourned before 10 p.m. Wednesday without voting on a bill aimed at derailing a proposed garbage incinerator in Romulus.
The bill was a top priority among dozens of local officials and businesses in the Finger Lakes, and it had passed the Senate unanimously.
Supporters of the measure had expected it to breeze through the state Assembly as well — if Assembly leaders called it to the floor for a vote.
But Assembly Speaker Carl Hastie did not call for the vote before adjournment.
As first reported earlier Wednesday on this blog, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester) had received campaign contributions in 2017 for his re-election campaign for the Assembly and in April for his 2018 run for Congress from sources tied to Circular enerG LLC, the company that is proposing the Romulus incinerator.
David Flaum, the principal at Circular enerG and a major contributor to Republican candidates, contributed $2,500 to Morelle’s Assembly campaign last March. His wife, Ilene Flaum, contributed the same amount on the same day.
Ilene Flaum also contributed $2,700 in April to Morelle’s run for Congress. He is seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat formerly held by the late Louise Slaughter, and he faces three opponents in a primary election Tuesday.
Sources said calling an Assembly vote on the incinerator bill Wednesday became more complicated after the bill became entangled in the closing hours of the session with an unrelated bill concerning cameras used to detect speeders near schools.
The Legislature could still convene again in November, in which case the incinerator bill would still be eligible for consideration.
This story was originally published by Peter Mantius, of the Water Front blog. Check out more of his work here at waterfrontonline.blog.
Reaction from Elected Officials
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) released the following statement late-Wednesday as session came to a close:
“It’s disappointing that, for now, the Assembly Majority has not advanced our effort to prevent the planned incinerator project in Romulus. Our natural landscape is the foundation of our local economy and quality of life. The project would generate pollution, add an inordinate amount of truck traffic, and wear-and-tear on local roads. While this worthwhile legislation passed the Senate earlier this week, we still have work to do in the Assembly. I’m hopeful this measure will be acted upon in the not-so-distant future.”
Senator Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) added the following in a statement late-Wednesday:
“The Assembly Majority put politics before people. Their failure to take up the ‘Finger Lakes Community Protection Act’ is shameful. The downstate led Assembly Majority blocked our legislation to stop the incinerator in Seneca County.
We brought together both Assembly and Senate members, statewide business organizations, and environmental advocacy groups, who are typically on opposite sides of the table to draft this legislation. Assemblyman Cusick was a strong partner throughout this effort. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate came together to pass my legislation unanimously on Monday. This legislation would have been a victory for local residents and business owners who are fearful of the impact this project could have on public health, the environment, and the value of their homes. Most importantly, this would have been a win for the children of Romulus who could be forced to go to school next to a smokestack releasing who knows what.
The message the Assembly Majority sent was clear – upstate doesn’t matter. They don’t care about our health, tourism, or the safety of local children. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue; rather, this is a matter of protecting the quality of life for local citizens and visitors alike and preserving our beautiful lakes, farmland, and natural scenery. However, our fight is not over. The Assembly needs to return next week and get this passed for the sake of our children and the future of the Finger Lakes.”
— Peter Mantius (@PMantius) June 21, 2018