By Bobbi Clifford, Finger Lakes Future Alliance
Finger Lakes Future Alliance (FLFA) was founded in spring of 2007 as a result of a presentation by the Seneca White Deer group (www.senecawhitedeer.org). At this meeting, it was learned that a large ethanol and biomass facility was planned on land formerly known as the Seneca Army Depot. This environmentally sensitive, undeveloped land parcel of 10,000 acres in the Finger Lakes region of New York State is home to a variety of rare, threatened and unique wildlife species, including the largest population in the world of white deer. Individuals attending became concerned beyond the impact to the white deer, and began to question the total environmental impacts a plant of this proportion would have. Little information was shared to the general public, so meetings of the concerned residents were arranged, and from there FLFA was established.
Through a variety of FLFA’s initiatives, including ‘letters to the editors’; a petition campaign collecting 1,000 signatures; meetings with the state senator, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as with surrounding municipalities around Seneca Lake, we succeeded in delaying the plans to proceed with the plant. In fact, just recently we have learned the main investors may have pulled out of the project! Without their financial backing, the project will not reach fruition.
Our next goal is to establish a regulatory watershed association around Seneca Lake so our drinking water and environment can be protected. FLFA’s impact on this project truly shows that grassroots efforts can make a difference!