Clean Chesapeake Coalition faces challenges changing minds

Carroll County Times
Timothy Sandoval
09/22/2013
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition, which Carroll County joined last year, includes six other rural counties in Maryland, and attempts to change conventional wisdom on the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and restoration efforts. The coalition advocates for cost-effective policies that will help the bay, pointing out the issues concerning the Conowingo Dam, which they say releases the largest amount of pollution into the bay. They argue the dam should be the priority, downplaying the effectiveness of environmental polices handed down by the state. But some have questioned the effectiveness of such a coalition, including one commissioner in Carroll County. Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, R-District 2, who voted against joining the coalition, said at the time of the vote that he was unsure the state would stop its focus on septic system regulations and other mandates it is looking to impose.

Composting at Home

Carroll County Times
07/22/2013
According to a report by the EPA, in 2010 Americans produced around 250 million tons of municipal waste, or everyday items used and thrown out. 250 million tons! And that’s only one country’s everyday garbage; that number doesn’t include the commercial, industrial, or agricultural waste that America produces. Another statistic to chew on is that also in 2010, the average individual waste generation was 4.43 pounds per person per day. Imagine how large would be the entire world’s collective garbage pile! Have you ever thought about what you can do at home to reduce your impact on waste generation? Composting is one solution that is both easy and highly beneficial. It is estimated that more than half of municipal waste is compostable, but the amount of waste that is actually composted falls far below half. Composting enriches your soil, saves you money, reduces landfill waste, recycles kitchen and yard waste, and is good for the environment. You can start at home by creating a pile of “green” and “brown” items.

Carroll preparing to pay $3 million penalty fee to avoid building incinerator

Carroll County Times
Christian Alexandersen
06/28/2013
While the Carroll County Board of Commissioners still hopes to avoid building a proposed waste-to-energy incinerator project with Frederick County, it has begun preparing itself to pay a $3 million penalty fee. The board voted 3-1, with Commissioner Doug Howard abstaining, to set aside $3 million to pay the penalty fee that would be needed only if Frederick cannot find a replacement for Carroll’s 40 percent partnership in the incinerator. The $3 million penalty would come from the county’s Fiscal Year 2013 reserve for contingencies fund.

Carroll commissioners to discuss waste-to-energy, stormwater management fee

Carroll County Times
Christian Alexandersen
06/23/2013
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss and possibly make a decision on the waste-to-energy proposal Thursday. In June 2012, the board sent a letter to its Frederick County counterparts suggesting each party go their own way when it comes to plans for a waste-to-energy incinerator. In August, Frederick County sent a letter back stating that Carroll may seek alternatives while it looks for substitute equity partners to replace Carroll in the contract between the two counties. Frederick County has yet to find a partner to replace Carroll.

Taneytown discusses Sustainable Community application

Carroll County Times
Rachel Roubein
06/06/2013
At the Taneytown City Council workshop Wednesday evening, most council members vocally supported the decision to finish the application to submit this month, as the state is accepting them in June and in October. Sustainable Communities aim to conserve resources, provide green spaces and recreational parks, offer transportation and more to its residents, according to the Maryland Department of Planning. Only specific portions of Taneytown would fall under the Sustainable Community designation: downtown, the city’s older areas, two townhouse communities, Memorial Park and Taneytown High School Park, according to Wieprecht, who is in charge of crafting the application.

Organization seeking to recognize green businesses

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
05/27/2013
A local environmental organization is aiming to connect eco-friendly businesses to eco-conscious consumers through a Green Business Network in Carroll County. The program is a collaborative effort by a committee composed of members of Waste Not! Carroll, Sustainable Living Maryland and the Catoctin chapter of the Sierra Club, said Sally Long, one of the committee members. Long said fellow committee member Don West came across a similar network of green businesses in Boone, N.C., and thought it would be a good opportunity for Carroll businesses and consumers.

Comments due on incinerator

Carroll County Times
05/19/2013
Residents deserve to know where the board stands, and if there has been any change of heart concerning getting out of the contract. Opponents to the airport expansion were surprised when the issue suddenly appeared on the commissioners’ agenda with no advance warning and the board quickly reversed its earlier decision with little opportunity for public input. It isn’t a far stretch, given their history of secrecy and penchant for closed-door deal-making, to consider the possibility of something like that happening again with the incinerator.

County Commissioners tell Frederick to look for new partner for incinerator as they explore alternatives

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
06/28/2012
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners took a first public step toward getting out of a deal to build a waste-to-energy incinerator with Frederick County Thursday by drafting a letter to the Frederick board encouraging them to find another partner to take Carroll's place. Board President Doug Howard, R-District 5, said it was his understanding that the Frederick Board of Commissioners was drafting a similar document Thursday that would grant Carroll freedom to pursue alternative methods of solid waste management. “This should not be construed as the ultimate decision, but a step forward where we can each begin to explore things in a broader way,” Howard said.

Consultant: County should perform solid waste audit

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
04/11/2012
A Frederick County consultant reaffirmed the need for an audit of Carroll’s waste stream after giving a presentation to the county solid waste work group Tuesday evening.Steve Cassis, of Solid Waste Analysis Group in Frederick, was a guest at the work group’s second meeting Tuesday. Cassis reviewed the basics of a similar presentation he gave to Frederick County in 2009 recommending that Frederick and Carroll turn away from a plan to build a 1,500-ton-per-day waste-to-energy incinerator and instead focus on a regional resource recovery park. The resource recovery park would include a number of elements to divide the counties’ collected waste into separate elements where each type of waste could be reused, recycled or properly disposed of.The recommended elements for the resource recovery park would include a materials recovery facility where recyclables could be sorted for sale, a composting operation, construction and demolition recycling, electronic waste recycling, a reuse center where people could claim used goods, a household hazardous waste collection area, secure document destruction, a maintenance facility and demonstration areas and classrooms. Cassis said he would recommend having an area of at least 300 acres for such a facility so that there is plenty of room for the operations, potential growth and to maintain a green space buffer from neighboring properties.

Official doubts incinerator estimates

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
11/19/2008
While Carroll and Frederick county leaders are waiting on best and final proposals for an incinerator to be shared by the two counties, one Frederick commissioner is urging his board to reconsider the assumptions the proposal is built on. Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen gave a presentation to the Frederick board Tuesday on his reservations with the proposed bicounty waste-to-energy incinerator and the need to investigate other solid waste management alternatives. “The goal is to provide enough information to suggest that there is more that we need to know and more that we need to take a look at,” Hagen told three of the four other board members and an audience of more than 50 people. Hagen said the assumptions used to develop the building cost estimates and operational cost estimates have used outdated data that is very favorable to building an incinerator. “In general, Frederick County has, to date, been overly assured of the relative economic certainties of the waste-to-energy option, which have been far from that certain,” Hagen said. The 2005 report by consultant firm R.W. Beck used an estimated construction cost of $323 million for a 1,500 ton-per-day incinerator to be shared by Carroll and Frederick counties, Hagen said. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority has used $350 million as its projected cost in presentations to Carroll County, and a specific price is being drafted by the two companies that are bidding on the project.