MDE should deny WTE permits

Frederick News Post
Ellis Burruss
04/16/2013
If the MDE grants the permits to build the proposed “waste-to-energy” trash incinerator in Frederick County it will result in the exposure of Frederick County citizens to a number of “hazardous air pollutants.” The permit application appendix table B-2 section B lists 111 tons of organic compounds, inorganic compounds, and metals that will be released into the atmosphere during each year of operation. This exposure risk raises questions: Will the MDE guarantee that no Frederick County resident will be adversely affected by the release of these hazardous air pollutants from the incinerator?

Contract details bedevil incinerator opponents; county seeks opinions

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
04/09/2013
The contract Frederick County has for a $400 million waste-to-energy incinerator does not say what the county believes it does, a variety of opponents keeps insisting. They are wrong, the Board of County Commissioners keeps responding: wrong about the lease agreement with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, wrong about the $400 million debt responsibility, wrong about who has to deal with all the incinerator ash. Commissioners say they will verify their position before carrying out the contract with the authority to build the incinerator. The incinerator is supposed to take 1,500 tons of trash and burn it into electricity, which will generate profit for the authority, reduce the county’s electrical cost and cut back on landfill use. The contract assumes electrical rates, trash supply and landfill availability that are not realistic or good for the county, said Bruce Holstein, a retired government accountant.

Answering a burning question

Gazette
04/04/2013
Like a slow-burning fire that won’t go out, the continuous spontaneous combustion of questions surrounding the construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County has taken on a life of its own. Since first being proposed eight years ago as a way to mitigate the high cost of hauling away trash from the county’s full landfill on Reichs Ford Road, the $527 million project has been vetted, debated, twisted, turned, politicized and eviscerated over time. Yet we still don’t know for sure that, once built, whether the facility will be an economic savior or a nightmare, with the county already slated to put up $316 million just for construction costs alone.

Once you burn them .

Frederick News Post
Jan Samet O'Leary
03/19/2013
The current debate over the waste-to-energy incinerator is missing a crucial point: What we are calling “waste” actually contains vital natural resources. The fact is that our planetary resources are finite, and, in our inexorable rush to consume, we are in serious jeopardy of exhausting substances that are necessary to the health of the planet and to our survival as a species. Take phosphorus, for example. A critical ingredient in chemical fertilizers and in our own bodies, this element, at current usage rates, will be depleted in just 50 to 100 years. Similarly zinc, the fourth-most used metal in the world and essential for human growth, may also be gone within the next century. And there are many others. So what does this have to do with an incinerator in Frederick County?

No Better Off

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
03/16/2013
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
02/15/2013
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.

Waste to energy: the story so far

Frederick News Post
01/31/2013
May 2000 — Frederick County hires consultants to evaluate landfill capacity problems. February 2006 — County commissioners begin procurement process for waste-to-energy incinerator. March 2007 — County Commissioner David Gray and Michael Marschner, director of the county's Utilities and Solid Waste Management Division, visit seven European countries to investigate waste-to-energy technology. April 2008 — Carroll and Frederick county commissioners discuss partnership on incinerator to burn 1,500 tons of trash per day to generate electricity. February 2009 — More than 200 people attend public hearings on incinerator, the majority in opposition. April 2009 — A state Senate committee rejects a bill that would prohibit incinerators near battlefields. July 2009 — Frederick and Carroll counties agree to build a regional trash incinerator at the McKinney Industrial site near Buckeystown Pike. October 2009 — Frederick County Planning Commission determines the waste-to-energy plant is not consistent with the county's comprehensive plan. November 2009 — County commissioners appeal planning commission’s decision in Frederick County Circuit Court. Planning commission reverses its earlier decision on the county's plans to build a trash incinerator. December 2009 — Residents challenge the planning commission's reversal on a ruling that could have blocked construction. August 2010 — Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority has first permitting hearing for air emissions. November 2010 — A study states the incinerator will cost Frederick County $140.7 million over the next 30 years, significantly less than an initial estimate of $331 million. October 2011 — An environmental group study reports that waste-to-energy incinerators release lead and mercury at a greater rate than some coal-fired plants. November 2011 — More than 100 residents turn out for the county's final public hearing on the waste-to-energy project. June 2012 — After making it known for months that they are pursuing other options, Carroll County officials give Frederick County the green light to pursue new partners for the incinerator. August 2012 — Only about a third of those who sign up to speak have their voices heard at a two-hour Maryland Department of the Environment public hearing on a water permit for the incinerator. September 2012 — With uncertainty about Carroll County's partnership and no firm commitment from a replacement county, Frederick asks Wheelabrator Technologies to calculate the cost of building a plant to burn only Frederick County's trash. January 2013 — Maryland Department of the Environment schedules a single hearing for the final three permits needed before construction of the incinerator can begin.

Incinerator support divides delegation

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
01/23/2013
Five members of the Frederick County delegation to the General Assembly have written to state officials in support of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority's application to build and operate a waste-to-energy incinerator in the county. The Friday letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment supported the plan to build the facility at the McKinney Industrial Park. The department's administrations for management of air and radiation, land and water are to hold a Jan. 30 public hearing on permit applications from the authority. The delegation encouraged the department to act expeditiously in the permitting phase of the project. The letter was signed by Sen. David Brinkley, chairman of the delegation; Delegate Galen Clagett, vice chairman; and delegates Donald Elliott, Patrick Hogan and Kelly Schulz. "We support this sustainable, environmentally-sound and economically viable waste management project that will promote waste reduction, recycling, renewable energy and landfill diversion," they wrote.

Contractors learn about incinerator options

County expects jobs, added work to come from project
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
08/22/2012
The permits are not yet in hand, but Frederick County is already talking construction and job creation related to the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator. On the eve of a public hearing to discuss one of three permits needed from the Maryland Department of the Environment, the county hosted a discussion with contractors and business owners who would be in line to bid on certain jobs.

Living in another financial reality

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
07/15/2012
The Frederick County Commissioners do not seem to understand the financial reality of the proposed Frederick/Carroll incinerator, since they claim that the NMWDA is on the hook for the bonds. That is like saying your mortgage banker is responsible for paying off the mortgage for your house. The NMWDA continues to mislead the public and our officials into thinking the incinerator is somehow a financial boon, that it will pay for itself. They mislead us because the incinerator means money in their pockets, to the tune of $500,000 a year at 3 percent markup, plus an ever-escalating membership fee (it is now $125,000 a year and will rise to $275,145 a year by fiscal 2015) for the next 30 years

County to seek waste-to-energy suitors

Carroll County looking at other options
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
06/29/2012
Frederick County has the green light to pursue new partners for the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator plant. Members of the Carroll County Commissioners signed a letter Thursday to allow the discussions, but the move does not remove Carroll County from the partnership. Frederick County officials welcomed the news."We have interest from three counties," said Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young. "We haven't really been able to aggressively pursue that because of the way the contract is written." Young confirmed that Prince George's, Howard and Washington counties have expressed interest. Carroll County officials have made it known for months that they intend to pursue other trash-disposal alternatives.

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.

WTE and electricity pricing

Ellis Burruss
06/17/2012
One of the most basic rules of business is to buy products at wholesale for less than they are to be sold at retail. That's how profits are made. However, the people who are proposing to build a so-called "waste-to-energy" (WTE) incinerator in Frederick are basing their financial projections on selling electricity in 2015 at 8.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). They are planning on a wholesale price that is much higher than the current retail price. Look at your most recent electric bill from Potomac Edison and you'll see that the retail price of electricity as of June 1 is 6.02 cents per kwh. The price will drop to 5.9 cents per kwh in October. Yes, electricity prices are going down.

Burnin’ Down The Waste

Trash Talk
Frederick Gorilla
Kelly Brook
04/27/2012
“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.

WTE and electricity pricing

Frederick News Post
Dan Andrews
04/13/2012
In a recent FNP article it was stated that waste incineration was "good for our community." As your local Sierra Club chairman, I am writing to tell you this is not true. This very controversial and extremely expensive proposed project is a mistake and can still be stopped. The construction bonding has not been approved by your commissioners, and Carroll County, a project partner, is poised to pull out of the deal. Waste incineration is a mistake for the following reasons...

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.

Carroll BoCC smarter than Frederick BoCC?

(Better to proceed with caution rather than risk incurring what could prove to be a crushing financial obligation.)
Frederick News Post
Nick Carrera
04/04/2012
Questions have been raised about the financial justification for the Frederick-Carroll county incinerator. The Board of Carroll County Commissioners responded by holding a solid waste forum to explore all waste options. Now, the president of their board has formed a Solid Waste Advisory Group to study all possibilities for handling solid waste.

Carroll County hears trash options

Residents speak on waste-to-energy plan
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
02/29/2012
Carroll County's commissioners Tuesday night publicy reviewed whether to continue a partnership with Frederick County to build a waste-to-energy incinerator plant in Frederick before about 150 concerned residents. The commissioners heard from a variety of groups, ranging from those who were in favor of waste-to-energy to those offering more environmentally friendly alternatives -- including composting. The groups were invited to speak at a forum at Carroll Community College in Westminster. The meeting was called as Carroll County's commissioners debate the idea of moving forward with the plan.

Residents offer mixed opinions on Frederick incinerator

Opponents say it’s a financial risk; proponents argue it will generate jobs
Gazette
12/08/2011
A $527 million trash incinerator in Frederick County is a waste of taxpayers’ money, a financial risk, and is dangerous to the environment, according to opponents.

County forging ahead with incinerator

Public hearing on the project set for today
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/07/2011
Frederick County is forging ahead with a waste-to-energy incinerator despite some hesitation from its partner in the project. Carroll County, which can opt out of the multimillion-dollar deal once final costs are determined next year, remains on the fence about whether it will stay on board. "We understand they are taking a look at the whole project," Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, said during a meeting Tuesday with the editorial board at The Frederick News-Post. "They need to make whatever decision is right for their county." Should Carroll County pass on the opportunity, it would leave Frederick County on the hook. "If you don't have another equity partner, I think the project stalls," Marschner said.