My presentation went beyond recycling

Source: Gazette
Author: Kai Hagen
Article Type:
Date Published: 11/27/2008

I made a presentation on Nov. 18 to my colleagues on the Frederick Board of County Commissioners and the public about our solid waste challenges, and our consideration of a controversial 1,500-ton-per-day, regional waste-to-energy incinerator (WTE). But if you read The Gazette’s article on my presentation last week, you might have the impression that the message was as simple as: Recycle and compost more and sooner than current plans and we won’t need an incinerator. While there’s truth in that basic idea, the emphasis was on comparing the long-term economic impact and uncertainties associated with WTE with a viable alternative option, and evaluating the proper and optimal process we should employ before making a decision to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, and lock the county into a particular approach for decades. The presentation also included a brief overview and criticism of the process to date; some perspective about the misperception that we don’t have time to engage a more thorough and complete process; an examination of some of the other real and substantial risks that come with WTE; and a consideration of the significant value and benefits of a more flexible and adaptable system.