MOREAU, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This Friday, a group of concerned Moreau area citizens will gather together to protest a project they believe will lead to significant environmental and community harm. Members of the “Not Moreau” community Facebook group are set to gather to protest Northeastern Biochar’s plans to build its first fertilizer plant at Moreau Industrial Park.
An event posting on Facebook invites Moreau residents to gather at the corner of Route 9 (Saratoga Avenue) and Route 32 (Gansevoort Road) in the town of Moreau on Friday, July 29, starting at 4 p.m. “Not Moreau” has over 350 likes and 480 follows as of Wednesday, July 27. The page serves as a communication and organization space for community members concerned over what effect the construction of the facility will have on the town.
It won’t be the growing group’s first time voicing its concerns among the community. Last week, “Not Moreau” protestors attended a meeting of the Town of Moreau Planning Board – a meeting where words from board member Ann Purdue spurred the board to delay OKing the proposed plant for another 45 days. At that meeting, Purdue cited failures by Northeast Biochar to disclose certain emission rates when first proposing the project. She also said that DEC permits that the town and company pointed to as an indicator as project safety actually functioned as a “license to pollute.”
The Saratoga Biochar plant would import biosolids – solid waste from wastewater treatment plants – from around a large portion of New York, New Jersey and potentially elsewhere. Those biosolids then undergo a process that results in the creation of fertilizer. The process emits a large amount of steam, but the company says that toxic substances such as PFOAs and sulfur dioxide undergo a containment and burning process intended to keep them from escaping into the atmosphere.
Moreau residents’ concerns certainly encapsulate the ecological impact that the facility could have but also go further. The Moreau Industrial Park has been zoned since 1994, but has only ever been home to adhesive manufacturer Hexion. Residents have expressed concerns over the impact of over 20 trucks per day carrying biosolids through streets populated by houses and families.