Parents of Sachem school district, BOE call for town to abandon proposed lithium-ion battery facility

The proposed facility would be within a mile of at least four elementary and middle schools.

Jon Dowding

Oct 11, 2023, 9:45 PM

Updated 187 days ago


Parents in Holtsville, Holbrook and surrounding areas joined with the Sachem Central School District Board of Education in opposition of a lithium-ion battery facility they say presents a safety risk to their children.
Hundreds of parents signed an online petition asking the Town of Brookhaven to deny a permit for the construction of the Holtsville Energy Storage Facility.
The Board of Education sent a letter to the New York State Public Service Commission expressing opposition to the project in light of safety concerns it presents to students and the community.
The proposed facility would be within a mile of at least four elementary and middle schools.
Sachem Center School District Board of Education President Robert Scavo says the board opposes the construction of the site and needs more information from the town about the potential impacts the site would have in the wake of a catastrophe.
“Not only our school district, but our residents [need to be] able to weigh in about the concerns, the health and the environmental concerns, health and safety concerns it has in the community, as well as our kids,” says Scavo.
The Town Of Brookhaven has already greenlighted various aspects of the approval process for the proposed Holtsville Energy Storage Facility.
Fran Lunati has grandchildren who go to schools in the district. She spearheaded a lot of the research and public information efforts in the community about the project and the potential risks it poses.
She says the town needs to think twice before granting full approval.
"You're putting the lives of thousands of people in this area in danger and the children in the schools,” said Lunati. “It's just a shame what they're doing and [they’re] trying to get away with it without announcing it to a fire district."
Lunati said she spoke with five local fire departments who said they had no clue this facility could be coming to Holtsville.
In the event of a fire, board officials say a facility like this would have to let everything burn, because of the complexity of the blaze, and toxins could be released into the air.
Board members Wednesday night discussed legal avenues for delaying the construction permits.
As News 12 has previously reported, some other municipalities have placed a moratorium on these types of facilities.
Some board members feel that could be a potential legal avenue the district could take in order to have a preliminary injunction granted.
"Have a moratorium on them because their community fought tooth and nail to stop them,” said Stephanie Volpe. “I think our issue here is that it went under the radar and got approved with the community having any clue."
In a July 2023 letter to the New York State Public Service Commission, NYS Assemblyman Douglas Smith and Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirillo also expressed their opposition to the project.
The New York State Public Service Commission has a meeting on the proposal tomorrow where the project could get full approval.

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