Environmental panel to feature Myersville resident

Frederick News Post
Myersville resident Ann Nau will be one of several panelists with Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s nine-stop tour across Maryland, including Hood College on Monday. The panelists will address pipeline infrastructure, such as the proposed Myersville compressor station. Nau is vice president of Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, a grass roots group organized to keep Dominion Transmission Inc. from building a gas compressor station in the small west Frederick County town. Nau has argued that DTI's proposed 16,000-horsepower compressor station is less than one mile from the Myersville Elementary School and would emit 23.5 tons of nitrogen oxide per year, risking lives. The panelists are protesting a new network of infrastructure — pipelines and compressor stations — to transport natural gas from fracking operations to Cove Point that will shipped to overseas markets. Large “energy companies benefit when communities like ours don't connect the dots between their plans and our health,” Nau said in a recent letter to the editor. “In the case of Dominion's $3.8 billion plan to liquefy and export natural gas from its Cove Point facility on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, you can bet they hope Frederick County residents don't (connect the dots), because we could pay a particularly high price,” Nau wrote. A recent MIT study found that Maryland has a higher death rate due to air pollution than any other state, resulting in the premature deaths of 113 out of 100,000 people per year, Nau said. Dominion's plan — to pipe across Maryland, liquefy and export nearly 1 billion cubic feet of gas from Cove Point every day — is a great deal for big gas corporations, but a lousy deal for Marylanders, Nau said.

Speaking out against Myersville compressor station plans

Frederick News Post
Ann Nau
Energy giants like Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based multi-billion dollar corporation, benefit when communities like ours don’t connect the dots between their plans and our health. In the case of Dominion’s $3.8 billion plan to liquefy and export natural gas from its Cove Point facility on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, you can bet they hope Frederick County residents don’t, because we could pay a particularly high price. As The News-Post has reported, a recent MIT study found that Maryland has a higher death rate due to air pollution than any other state, resulting in the premature deaths of 113 out of 100,000 people per year. In Baltimore, that number jumps to 130 per 100,000, and Frederick has similarly high rates. While I applaud the state’s efforts to improve Maryland’s air quality, as noted in the recent letter from Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert Summers, I am gravely concerned about the consequences if state and federal regulators allow Dominion to move forward with its toxic emissions-spewing export facility. The Cove Point terminal in Lusby, currently designed as a gas import facility, is already in an area that exceeds federal limits for ozone pollution, which triggers asthma attacks and worsens respiratory illnesses. The facilities that Dominion wants to add at Cove Point to liquefy gas for export would spew more ozone pollutants, belching 279.5 tons per year of nitrogen oxide and 33.2 tons per year of volatile organic compounds. But how does this connect to Frederick County? As Dominion and other companies race to export natural gas to overseas markets, driving up domestic prices, they’ll need a massive new network of infrastructure — pipelines and compressor stations — to transport gas from fracking operations to Cove Point. In fact, Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI), a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, has proposed building a 16,000-horsepower compressor station in Frederick — within the town limits of Myersville, where I live, and less than 1 mile from our elementary school.

Who's paying attention?

Frederick News Post
Susan Hanson
Last month we got the news (The News-Post, Sept. 18) that the MIT test of the air quality in Frederick is dismal. Frederick is almost as bad as Baltimore. Some officials are blaming the coal-fired power plants in the Midwest. Frederick County already pays a fee (called an offset) because of its poor air quality levels. This is before we have started adding the stuff that will come out of the incinerator once we start burning the trash and tires at this proposed facility. Is anyone out there paying attention and saying hmm, we’re going to have to pay a lot more for all of this additional smog? And this toxic stuff cannot be blamed on our neighbors.

Incinerator will add to air pollution

Frederick News Post
Ellis Burruss
The letter in Sunday’s Frederick News-Post from Maryland Secretary of the Environment Robert Summers clearly describes the difficulty of cleaning the air we breathe while it’s being polluted from neighboring states. As the Sept. 18 editorial pointed out: Air pollution in Frederick County is at a dangerous level and can affect the health of all county residents. However, while Mr. Summers’ concern for stopping pollution from other states is very important, it should be noted that his agency is currently reviewing permit applications for a trash incinerator that will add a significant amount of pollution to our already burdened local atmosphere. The incinerator, which is planned to be built right off English Muffin Way in south Frederick, will burn 1,500 tons a day of mixed trash, old tires and sewage sludge. Despite “state of the art” pollution controls, incinerators are major sources of highly toxic pollutants and carcinogens, chemicals that form ozone (smog), and fine particles that are so small that they can reach the deepest parts of the lung and cross directly into the bloodstream. Because our local air is already so polluted, the hundreds of tons of nitrogen oxides emitted from the incinerator will require us (the taxpayers) to purchase pollution offsets from other communities. We will still breathe the pollution and we’ll have to pay for the privilege!

Foes of Myersville compressor station ask for review, Want state to postpone permit

Frederick News Post
Ike Wilson
A local grass-roots group wants the Maryland Department of the Environment to consider a recent study that tags the Old Line State with the highest percentage of premature deaths due to long-term exposure to air pollution than any other state before the state agency makes a decision on Dominion Transmission Inc.’s request for an air quality permit for its proposed gas compressor station in Myersville. The recently released study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that emissions from cars, trucks, industrial smokestacks, trains, boats, and commercial heating systems contribute to the deaths of 113 people per 100,000 population per year in Maryland, according to Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, the grass-roots group formed to keep the project out of the western Frederick County municipality. Baltimore has the highest emissions-related mortality rate of large cities in the country, and Frederick, Reisterstown and Montgomery Village all have rates close to Baltimore’s, according to the study. After a recent MDE informational meeting in Myersville, MCRC members said the agency should consider the MIT study, along with numerous scientific studies and facts that support not granting the air quality permit to operate a 16,000 horsepower gas compressor station in Myersville.

Air of dissatisfaction

Frederick News Post
A recent Capital News Service story on air pollution raised a number of questions. Those who read deeply enough into the story also found an eye-opening bit of information about Frederick. According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study released last month, a higher percentage of Marylanders die prematurely due to long-term exposure to air pollution than residents of any other state. What is particularly galling about this situation is that, to some extent, the costly efforts Maryland has made to clean up its air are being sabotaged by some “upwind” states that haven’t made similar sacrifices. The MIT study listed Baltimore as the worst large city in the entire nation when it comes to emissions-related mortality rate. For those of us who are used to hearing all the horror stories about Los Angeles, Denver and other pollution-choked cities, this is somewhat of a shock. A bit further into the story, the news got even worse. Frederick pops up as one of several Maryland cities whose air-pollution-related death rate is nearly as high as Baltimore’s.

No Better Off

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
In response to the Feb. 26 article, “Incinerator faces numbers crunch,” I was struck by a quote from Commissioner Gray. Mr. Gray said that “We were not going to be a dumping ground for other people’s trash.” The reality is that the proposed 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator depends on Frederick to be a dumping ground for other people’s trash. Frederick and partner Carroll County together produce less than half the trash needed to supply the incinerator its minimum tonnage, so the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) plans for Frederick to import up to 350,000 tons of trash and tires per year to achieve the contracted requirement to burn in excess of 500,000 tons annually.

Bad for the air

Frederick News Post
Austin Twigg
The American Lung Association gives Frederick County’s air quality an “F.” Believe it or not, Frederick’s air quality is significantly worse than Baltimore City. So what do our local legislators do? Led by Sen. David Brinkley, they write a letter in support of building a trash incinerator on Buckeystown Pike, just south of Westview Shopping Center, and within a couple of miles of 11 schools. The incinerator will be permitted to emit 10 million pounds of particulate matter per year, including mercury, lead and dioxin. These emissions are in very small particles that can lead to serious health problems and environmental damage as they accumulate and persist in the air, water, land and our bodies. In addition to worsening our air quality, Frederick County taxpayers will be responsible for the $500 million to construct the plant. Repayment is guaranteed by your system benefit charge on your property tax bill. Research the incinerator yourself and once you see what a bad deal it is, contact your local representative and tell them to terminate the contract.

Burnin’ Down The Waste

Trash Talk
Frederick Gorilla
Kelly Brook
“No Incinerator!” scream the signs. If you live or work in Frederick County, you’ve seen them in windows, on lawns and in cars for years. You can’t help but notice them. When you see them, maybe you cringe from the vision of soaring incinerator smokestacks spewing a black, smoky, noxious sludge of particulates, carcinogens, and climate-altering acids. Or maybe you roll your eyes imagining the “tree-hugging, peace-loving, Common Market-shopping” conservationist who might have posted it. If you’re like most people, though, you take a moment to acknowledge your concern for the environment, worry for a moment about how this will affect your taxes, wonder what the heck this incinerator debate is all about—and then forget about it and get on with your day.

Analyst: Waste-to-energy not clean

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
A study released Thursday by an environmental group reported that waste-to-energy trash incinerators release lead and mercury at a greater rate than some coal-fired plants. With several trash-burning facility projects in the pipeline in Maryland, including one in Frederick County, the studys authors said state lawmakers need to firm up renewable energy standards. This report really shows that waste-to-energy incineration is not clean, and its not renewable, Robbie Orvis, report author and research analyst at the Environmental Integrity Project, said Thursday in a telephone news conference. We urge Maryland to reconsider the path its on to become the trash incineration capital of the United States.

WTE not as advertised

Frederick News Post
Austin Twigg
Waste-to-energy is a misleading term used by incineration companies to disguise and promote their environmentally destructive and resource-wasting technologies, and to circumvent statutory restrictions on incineration. Incineration is a waste treatment technology that involves burning commercial, residential and hazardous waste. It converts discarded materials, including paper, plastics, metals and food scraps into bottom ash, fly ash, combustion gases, air pollutants, wastewater, wastewater treatment sludge and heat. In recent years, the incinerator industry has tried to expand its sector by marketing their facilities as "waste to energy," using misleading claims of "reducing climate pollution" and being a "clean energy source." It is a myth that burning trash is a source of renewable energy.

Public decries waste-to-energy project

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
Potential pollution, traffic and expense associated with a waste-to-energy incinerator drew a group of residents to a meeting Thursday with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Members of the public who attended the meeting were not convinced that the county plant will receive enough trash to make it profitable, and if it does they said too much material that could be recycled will be incinerated instead.

Public hearing on waste-to-energy brings crowd

Frederick News Post
Karen Gardner
Debt, dioxins, outdated technology and traffic were just some of the reasons Frederick County residents gave for opposing a proposed waste-to-energy plant during a public hearing before the County Commissioners on Tuesday night. Most of the speakers opposed the incinerator, which is projected to cost the county $325 million. Carroll County would assume an additional $200 million of the cost, if the two counties decide to proceed. The commissioners are considering whether to build the incinerator to handle 800 tons of trash Frederick County residents generate per day. Most of that trash is being sent to an out-of-state landfill. County officials said that is not a long-term solution. At least 60 people signed up to speak at the hearing, which will be continued at 7 p.m. Thursday. Three local developers said the incinerator would be a blight for residents and businesses who are within a few miles of the Md. 85 corridor. The site being considered is on Metropolitan Court, off English Muffin Way, across the Monocacy River from the Monocacy National Battlefield.

Right vs. rush

Frederick News Post
The issue that's brought "No Incinerator" signs to the front yards of numerous Frederick residences has also brought national attention to states like ours that are grappling with the pros and cons of building waste-to-energy plants. Investigating the topic in its Dec. 6-7 issue, The Wall Street Journal looked at controversies surrounding combustion-based waste treatment options by observing that "opposition has cropped up against proposals in California, Maryland and elsewhere." It seems we are not alone. Not so, for Kai Hagen. He's the only Frederick County commissioner opposed to the idea of building a WTE incinerator in Frederick, recently developing a PowerPoint presentation to elucidate his stance and outline alternatives. A Nov. 19 News-Post story said an audience of "about 100 people" gathered for the show, coming as it did on the cusp of the review of the two final incinerator-build bids which, at that time, commissioners expected to have before the board by the end of the year. Estimated expenditure: $350 million. Hagen articulated multiple criticisms of the "uncertain assumptions" being made by the pro-incinerator-leaning board. One involves population growth and per-household trash production predictions. The other hinges on questions surrounding future environmental regulations, meaning those likely to be enacted down the road.

An incinerator is not worth the risk

Michelle Buckingham
What is it going to take for Frederick County commissioners to realize that a trash incinerator is an incredibly bad idea, not only economically, but for health reasons as well? Shouldn’t Frederick County at least keep up with the rest of the nation as far as going green? After reading about the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission using wind energy, I’m astounded that while Prince George’s County is moving forward and using wind energy, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners is thinking of building an incinerator for energy! All of the arguments against the incinerator are valid, but seem to only address the incredible cost of millions of dollars! Of course, the residents’ taxes and fees will go up as well! The other, and more important, cost we would pay is our health.