Update on Endicott battery recycling project

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ENDICOTT, NY: The company that seeks to bring a controversial lithium-ion battery recycling facility to Endicott says it’s weighing its options regarding the future of the project.

SungEel MCC Americas says it is continuing to review and assess the direction of its proposed facility.

NewsChannel 34 reached out to SungEel earlier this week after Endicott Mayor Linda Jackson shared her opinion that the company would likely walk away from the project due to organized public opposition.

In its statement, SungEel urges village leaders and residents to consider the economic benefits its facility would provide.

And it continues to insist that its process is safe, proven and effective.

No Burn Broome, the grassroots organization formed to fight the project says its work to uncover the role of the harmful chemical PFAS in the process lead to the current delay in the project moving forward.

No Burn Broome says it appreciates the efforts of the new 3 trustee majority on the village board that have pledged to stop the project.

NoBurnBroome statement:

Endicott is a vulnerable community that needs special protection. SungeEel seems oblivious of the assault on the health of the citizens of Endicott by previous industrial operations. The community needed full transparency on their operation supported by solid scientific detail. All we have had from SungEel is a very superficial treatment on the dangers posed by their operation. As with their current press release, SungEel pays more attention to PR than substance. Citizens have had to educate themselves on these dangers.

NoBurnBroome has no problem with recycling lithium-ion batteries but there are many safer and simpler ways of doing this without using the high temperature gasification and burning steps used by SungEel. 

It was citizens – not SungEel or the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) – who brought to the attention of both the public and decision makers that these lithium-ion batteries contain both long chain (PVDF) and short chain PFAS. Heating and burning these are likely to produce even more PFAS. 

In June 2020 the DEC asked SungEel to monitortheir sister plant in South Korea for PFAS emissions. Over six months later we are still waiting to hear the results of any monitoring they have undertaken. In the face of such a lack of urgency, it is time for the DEC to vacate the air permit they issued on March 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, NoBurnBroome supports the new Village Trustees efforts to bring safe and clean manufacturing, or other job-creating, operations into Endicott.

Sungeel Statement:

In light of recent comments circulating in the local media, SungEel MCC Americas responds with the following statement:

“As we enter the planning phases for 2021, leadership at SungEel MCC Americas (SMCC) is continuing to review and assess the direction in which the proposed recycling facility in Endicott will take. With many similar operations thriving across the world, the country and New York State, the company stands behind the importance of recycling initiatives and the scientific evidence that makes SMCC’s process safe, proven and effective.

Despite the unproductive rhetoric circulating in the Village of Endicott, SMCC urges Village leadership and its constituents to keep in mind the positive impact and economic potential that a company like SMCC can bring to the community. Long afflicted with economic turmoil that has only been compounded by the pandemic, SMCC hopes that Endicott will encourage a business-friendly environment that welcomes stable and socially conscious employers.

SMCC sincerely hopes that misinformation, fear and conflicts of interest do not detract from the need for environmentally minded businesses, especially in small communities like Endicott. As always, SMCC will inform the community of all updates related to the recycling project in Endicott as they arise.”

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