Let's follow Carroll County's lead on incinerator

Frederick News Post
Patrice Gallagher
07/04/2013
The No Incinerator Alliance wholeheartedly supports the recent decision by the Carroll County Commissioners to withdraw from the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator project. With this decision, those commissioners are recognizing the fact that the old technology of burning waste is not a good business plan when less costly alternatives are available. The NIA encourages the Frederick County Commissioners to take this opportunity to re-examine the assumptions on which the incinerator project was based. The financial projections made by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority are unrealistic and not a basis on which to commit Frederick County to decades of burdensome debt (see no-incinerator.org for details) and exorbitant operating costs.

Let’s follow Carroll County’s lead on incinerator

Frederick News Post
Patrice Gallagher
07/04/2013
The No Incinerator Alliance wholeheartedly supports the recent decision by the Carroll County Commissioners to withdraw from the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator project. With this decision, those commissioners are recognizing the fact that the old technology of burning waste is not a good business plan when less costly alternatives are available. The NIA encourages the Frederick County Commissioners to take this opportunity to re-examine the assumptions on which the incinerator project was based. The financial projections made by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority are unrealistic and not a basis on which to commit Frederick County to decades of burdensome debt (see no-incinerator.org for details) and exorbitant operating costs.

Carroll County officials to consider departure from incinerator pact

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/27/2013
Carroll County commissioners today might map their exit from a partnership with Frederick County on a regional waste-to-energy incinerator. Though several Carroll County commissioners want to bow out of the project, the timing of a potential withdrawal is a point of contention. Some board members want to call it quits despite possibly incurring a $3 million penalty, while others hope to hold off until they can avoid the cost, said Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild. Today's board meeting will allow commissioners to discuss whether to set aside funds for a potential penalty payment should they end their involvement with the incinerator. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young said he would bear no ill will toward Carroll County leaders if they opt out of the project to build an incinerator. But Frederick County needs Carroll County to decide one way or the other, he said. "Their problem is they want to get out of the responsibility of paying anything. It doesn't work that way," Young said.

Wrong on waste-to-energy details

Frederick News Post
Caroliine Eader
06/16/2013
Harvey Alter continues to make it clear he’s not read any of the contracts pertaining to the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority’s proposed trash incinerator, which is to be located in Frederick (“Halloween Garbage”, May 12). And because of his lack of understanding he continues to write fiction. For example, it is not completely true when he writes the incinerator’s costs are to be covered by the tipping fee charged at the landfill. The tipping fees will be whatever the market can bear, and most likely the majority of the costs will be covered by the System Benefit Charge (SBC), which is a mandatory fee found on each and every property tax bill in the county.

Frederick Public will pay for incinerator

Frederick News Post
Matthew Seubert
05/18/2013
Where will all this money come from? The county and the NEA claim it will come from electricity generated by burning trash, the sale of recovered metals and tip fees. Nearly all of the electricity generated is contractually pledged first to Wheelabrator to cover operating costs. Little, if any, will arc its way into county coffers. The real answer to the question is much simpler. The money will come from a tax on every property owner in the county in the form of a system benefit charge on our property tax bill, which can be increased by the county at will.

Incinerator would tower over historic Monocacy battlefield

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/25/2013
The Monocacy National Battlefield has again been identified as one of Maryland’s most endangered historical sites because of its proximity to a planned incinerator in Frederick County. In 2008, the Civil War Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields, named the park an endangered site because of how close it would be to the proposed “waste-to-energy facility” that will burn trash to produce electricity. This time, Preservation Maryland — a nonprofit organization founded in 1931 to advocate for historic sites, neighborhoods and landscapes in the state — has also recently named the battlefield one of the state’s most endangered historical sites because the incinerator’s 270-foot smokestack will be visible from across the battlefield.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?"

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.

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."