By PJ Ferguson
Tuesday night’s presentation from Airgid Global and Edison Energy representatives regarding the proposed waste-to-energy plant was met with skepticism by those in attendance.
Despite providing information on how the plant would benefit the village of Whitehall, the answers were not satisfying enough for some.
“I don’t want our town to be home of the garbage in all of the nation. We’re not the solution to everyone’s garbage,” stressed village planning board member Stephanie Safka.
Her concerns were echoed by village board member Teresa Austin, who said she had a “terrible feeling” about the village becoming a “huge dumping area with no proof of benefit.”
However, according to Airgid Global managing director Ed McCaffrey and Edison Energy representative Matt Mason, the benefits to Whitehall are bountiful.
The pair assured that they would discuss sharing a percentage of their revenue with the village, on top of paying their taxes. In addition, through their non-combustion process, the plant would generate enough electricity and steam to power the town at a more affordable rate.
Initially providing 30 “good paying jobs” for workers skilled in electric, steel and information technology, the plant would be the first for Airgid Global but not the first to utilize the chemical process of gasification that breaks down the waste into usable energy sources such as natural gas, diesel fuel and methanol.
They described the process as an alternative to landfills, and the way of future waste disposal. They believe it could spark an “industrial rebirth” for the northeast.
Mayor Phil Smith simply had one question for the duo, “Why Whitehall?”
This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.