Official says WTE incinerator construction remains on track

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/01/2011
Construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County is on pace to start by August 2012, and the plant could be up and running three years later. All that remains is final permitting, which is still being reviewed, Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, told the Rotary Club of Frederick on Wednesday. "It's not like you're getting a permit for a house," Marschner said. "There are a lot of things that get checked and double-checked." The county has so far hit no major snags in the process, he said. "Everything is proceeding pretty much on schedule," Marschner said. "These are large projects that take a lot of time to develop." Frederick and Carroll counties have an agreement to build the 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator at McKinney Industrial Park in Frederick. The plant will burn trash to generate electricity for both counties.

Fact checking ‘WTE 101, continued’

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

Fact checking 'WTE 101, continued'

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

WTE will make our county sick

Frederick News Post
Nicole Orr
11/05/211
am still befuddled by the fact that this WTE idea is still moving forward. It's not only about the estimated $1 billion that will be spent to build, fix, retrofit and maintain the thing. It's also about finding 1,500 tons of trash a day to feed it. Burning garbage to produce energy is highly inefficient. Recycling recovers three to five times more energy than incineration produces. Once that can, bottle or newspaper is burned, its life cycle is over. Modern technology has enabled us to reuse our natural resources. Burning them is taking a huge step in the wrong direction. Americans are recycling more, manufacturers are touting their green products made from recycled materials and the federal government has enacted Executive Order 13101 -- Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition. We are teaching our kids to reduce, reuse, recycle, and they are. This Board of Frederick County Commissioners is building a machine that does not account for the level of waste reduction we will achieve in the future.

Hefty NMWDA fees

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
10/27/2011
In response to the call by the Frederick County Commissioners for ideas on how to cut county costs, I have one: Stop being a member county of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. NMWDA is the independent "instrumentality" of the state of Maryland that will own the regional trash incinerator to be sited here in Frederick County. NMWDA has been leading Frederick and Carroll counties toward the possibly bankrupting incinerator since Frederick County became a member in 2004, and NMWDA will benefit handsomely from the facility.Not including the huge construction costs and escalating management/administrative fees, Frederick can save millions of dollars in membership fees alone if we quit being a member county of NMWDA.

Analyst: Waste-to-energy not clean

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
10/14/2011
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
09/21/2011
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
07/22/2011
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.

WTE debacle

Frederick News Post
David Herman
06/04/2011
As a Republican, I am outraged that the "fiscally conservative" Board of County Commissioners is moving forward with an oversized, overpriced, unnecessary and polluting incinerator project. At a recent Maryland Department of the Environment informational meeting, the MDE made it clear that industry is on the "honor system" for reporting problems to them. In the case of Wheelabrator, this is not appropriate since it is a serial permit violator and subject of lawsuits by communities. The company simply pays the fines assessed and continues operations as usual while citizens must pay millions to breathe and drink the contamination. While Commissioner Billy Shreve did attend part of the recent MDE meeting, his attention was on his laptop rather than on the discussion. The entire BoCC appears to be asleep, to have not read the contract, and to continue the mistake of the previous board led by Jan Gardner -- who had very little understanding of the financial debt and pollution she was signing us up for.

O’Malley to sign energy incentive legislation

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
05/18/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign a bill recognizing waste-to-energy trash incineration as renewable energy generation, disregarding pleas from environmental groups to veto it. O'Malley, who has been considering the matter for weeks, sent out a lengthy statement Tuesday evening saying he intended to sign the bill. It is scheduled to be signed at a ceremony Thursday -- the last of such ceremonies held after the conclusion of the Maryland General Assembly session last month. The bill will provide financial incentives for those operating waste-to-energy plants that convert trash into electricity through incineration. Such a plant is planned in Frederick County, where the commissioners have committed to building a waste-to-energy plant and are in the planning stages. Frederick County residents opposed to that plant had written emails to O'Malley asking him to veto the bill, joining efforts from environmental and health organizations from around the state.

O’Malley ponders veto of trash bill

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
04/30/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley is considering requests to veto legislation that would provide financial incentives for electricity generation through waste-to-energy trash incinerators. More than 30 organizations signed a joint letter to the governor asking for the veto. The bill, which passed 24-20 in the Senate and 74-60 in the House of Delegates, would elevate waste-to-energy to the same level as solar and wind power when it comes to renewable energy credits. Nonprofit organizations in the areas of public health, the environment, and for promoting a sustainable economy said the bill would undermine Maryland's efforts to reduce overall energy consumption and fight global climate change. Frederick County, which is planning to build a waste-to-energy plant, stands to benefit from the legislation. If the legislation is enacted, the county would boost electricity revenue by selling credits. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young wrote to O'Malley on Friday asking him to sign the bill into law.

O'Malley ponders veto of trash bill

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
04/30/2011
Gov. Martin O'Malley is considering requests to veto legislation that would provide financial incentives for electricity generation through waste-to-energy trash incinerators. More than 30 organizations signed a joint letter to the governor asking for the veto. The bill, which passed 24-20 in the Senate and 74-60 in the House of Delegates, would elevate waste-to-energy to the same level as solar and wind power when it comes to renewable energy credits. Nonprofit organizations in the areas of public health, the environment, and for promoting a sustainable economy said the bill would undermine Maryland's efforts to reduce overall energy consumption and fight global climate change. Frederick County, which is planning to build a waste-to-energy plant, stands to benefit from the legislation. If the legislation is enacted, the county would boost electricity revenue by selling credits. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young wrote to O'Malley on Friday asking him to sign the bill into law.

State WTE legislation is moving too fast

Frederick News Post
04/11/2011
The state is supporting the concept of waste-to-energy incinerators with high-power support from Gov. Martin O'Malley, leading lawmakers and the Maryland Energy Administration for incentives to build the plants. The deal is this: Last week, in the closing days of the Annapolis session, which will end at midnight Monday for another year, lawmakers floated the idea of creating incentives for waste-to-energy plants. We're not sure where the idea came from, nor the motivation behind it. However, the energy administration has said the trash-burning facilities will help Maryland reach its 20 percent goal for renewable energy sources. The legislation will add waste to energy into the same "tier 1" category as wind, geothermal or solar plants, allowing the facilities to sell renewable energy credits at a more preferential price. That's the incentive. The state already has three waste-to-energy plants, the closest to us at Dickerson in Montgomery County. The fourth, controversially, is Frederick County's, which will burn waste from Frederick and Carroll counties. How this will play out for incinerator opponents and Frederick County's project will be interesting to watch.

Young says Carroll County must decide whether to remain in incinerator partnership

Frederick commissioners' president also questions moving the trash-burning plant
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/31/2011
Frederick County Commissioners' President Blaine R. Young said today Carroll County must decide if it wants to still be a partner in the planned incinerator. Young (R) asked Michael G. Marschner, the special projects manager with the Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, to meet with Carroll County commissioners and see if they are still on board with the incinerator, or what some people call a "waste-to-energy facility" because it burns trash to produce electricity. Young said he wants an answer in 30 days. "We need to find out the status of Carroll County," he said. "Are they in or are they out?"

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
10/27/2010
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.

History vs. trash in incinerator debate

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
03/03/2010
Opponents of a Frederick County trash incinerator hope they can persuade state lawmakers to put a stop to it based on its proximity to Monocacy National Battlefield. The state Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is considering a bill that would stop construction of incinerators within a mile of a national park. They considered a similar bill last year but voted it down before it could get to the full Senate. With the proposed incinerator approved for the McKinney site across the river from the battlefield, state Sen. Alex Mooney hopes his bill will gain more traction this year. Mooney, a Republican who represents Frederick and Washington counties, is an incinerator opponent whose district includes several sites considered for the project. He spoke to the committee Tuesday at a bill hearing. "It remains an irresponsible decision to site an incinerator next to a historic battlefield," Mooney said.

Mooney moves to stop incinerator near battlefield

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
02/28/2009
Citing the historic nature of the Monocacy National Battlefield, Sen. Alex Mooney introduced legislation Friday that would prohibit building or operating an incinerator within one mile of a national park. His bill comes in reaction to the Frederick County Commissioners' consideration of a site near the battlefield for an incinerator, also known as a waste-to-energy plant, which would burn trash to generate electricity. It could have a smokestack as tall as 350 feet. The commissioners chose the McKinney Industrial Park as a site to take to public hearing this month. The county-owned site is off Buckeystown Pike. "The battlefield is important, it's an important battle," Mooney said. "I'd hate to see a smokestack put up right next to it, detracting from the attractiveness of the location." Known as the "battle that saved Washington," the one-day conflict at Monocacy delayed Confederate troops as they marched unsuccessfully toward the capital in 1864. Battlefield Superintendent Susan Trail has objected to the site, saying the smokestack would be visually intrusive. The Civil War Preservation Trust named the battlefield one of the most endangered Civil War sites last year because of the incinerator threat. The commissioners have proposed waste-to-energy as a way to combat the county's growing waste disposal needs. They hope to stop the costly practice of hauling trash to a Virginia landfill. Commissioner Kai Hagen, the only opponent of the incinerator on the board, supports Mooney's bill.

Legal action won’t delay incinerator

Design, permitting continues for trash-burning facility
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
11/19/2009
Legal action will not delay the permitting and designing process of an incinerator in Frederick County, according to a county official. Michael G. Marschner, director of the county's Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, said this week the process will continue despite an appeal filed in Circuit Court Friday. "The [Board of County Commissioners] have already signed agreements with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and they have been working on the design and permitting process," Marschner said. "It's a long process and they [NMWDA] have been instructed to do so. Yes, we're still moving forward."

Legal action won't delay incinerator

Design, permitting continues for trash-burning facility
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
11/19/2009
Legal action will not delay the permitting and designing process of an incinerator in Frederick County, according to a county official. Michael G. Marschner, director of the county's Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, said this week the process will continue despite an appeal filed in Circuit Court Friday. "The [Board of County Commissioners] have already signed agreements with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and they have been working on the design and permitting process," Marschner said. "It's a long process and they [NMWDA] have been instructed to do so. Yes, we're still moving forward."

Commissioners expected to vote on incinerator today

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
06/23/2009
A trash debate that has dominated county discussions for years could be resolved today. Commissioner Charles Jenkins is expected to make several motions that will allow the county to go ahead with a proposed incinerator, also known as waste-to-energy because it could generate electricity. Commissioners John L. Thompson Jr. and David Gray are expected to be in support. "What should have been done 20 years ago, will hopefully be set in motion tomorrow," Jenkins said by phone Monday.