Testimony from the No Incinerator Alliance to the Frederick County Delegation

Editor’s Note: On December 13, 2014, the members of the Frederick County delegation to Annapolis held their annual public hearing at Winchester Hall, hearing testimony from individuals and organizations about a wide variety of issues that might be addressed during the upcoming 90 day legislative session (beginning in January). Below is the written version of the brief comments by Patrice Gallagher, the president of the No Incinerator Alliance.


On November 20, the Board of County Commissioners voted to cancel the contract to build the Frederick incinerator. After almost a decade of opposition to this project, the No Incinerator Alliance is grateful to be able to move toward advocating in favor of positive solutions to our waste problem, and accordingly, we will be changing our name to reflect that.

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Over the last eight years, I’ve learned far more about waste management and incineration than I ever imagined I’d want to know. But, it has been fascinating, actually, and encouraging to find that there are hundreds of programs around our nation and the world, that successfully divert waste from landfills or incinerators.

In fact, there is aa large and growing industry that creates thousands of jobs and handles our waste as the resource that it actually is. Why burn or landfill something, when we will only have to extract and process precious virgin resources and consume more energy to replace it? By repurposing, recycling, or composting, waste becomes a resource, rather than discards to be thrown “away” or burned.

Certainly we’ve seen a global shift in the waste management paradigm in the last couple of decades. Flexibility in our methods is key in such a quickly changing environment. Within the No Incinerator Alliance, there are many of us who own or work within small to medium sized businesses. Perhaps that’s why we have faith in a system that would rely on a collection of entrepreneurs to repurpose these resources.

This system of waste handling is often called a Resource Recovery Business Park.

I won’t go into detail now about the possibilities in this waste management model. But some have asked: Without an incinerator, what is Plan B? We feel the Resource Recovery Park paradigm provides an answer to that question.

But how does all of this impact our representatives at the state level?

We have two requests:

1. Our state, through our governor and representatives, chose several years ago to incentivize incineration by assigning Tier One renewable energy source status to incinerators. The incinerator industry fought hard to obtain this status, but from environmental and fiscal standpoints, this does not make sense.

There has been, and we’re certain there will be, additional legislation introduced to increase incentives to incinerate. In the 2014 session, we appreciated Senator Young’s efforts to promote a better bill than HB 240/SB 56, which would have ultimately incentivized incineration. Several of our delegation members have expressed publicly opposition to the Frederick incinerator and we thank them for that.

There are citizens crafting language for several waste-related bills for the upcoming session and we’re hoping that the members of our delegation, will take time to meet with these citizens to understand and advocate for these bills.

2. We also have in our state a waste authority, the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, whose mission includes incineration as a primary waste handling method that the NMWDA offers its member counties.

We ask that the Frederick delegation support citizens’ efforts to change the mission of the waste authority, to exclude incineration and explicitly include more sustainable methods of waste/resource management, like Resource Recovery Business Parks.


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