Submitted by Dick Williams, Creation Care Co-Lead
For MEEPers and others interested in better air quality in the Baltimore region
Update: Wheelabrator “Waste-to-Energy” Facility, Russell Street:
Residents, community activists, and representatives from United Workers, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Clean Water Action (CWA), the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) held a press event in Carroll Park on the morning of September 21, 2018. We were also joined by City Council members Mary Pat Clarke and Ed Reisinger. The event occurred just prior to the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) public hearing to take comments on the proposed rule which would limit Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions from the Wheelabrator Incinerator. NOx is a precursor to smog, exacerbates asthma and other health problems, and contributes to nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay.
It was a packed house in the public hearing, and one of the largest turnouts for a rulemaking I’ve seen. Several of the folks testifying became emotional as they described the impact the facility and air pollution in general had on their lives. Many called for shutting down the incinerator. The only person testifying in favor of the facility represented a waste-to-energy industry group.
MDE expects the final rule to be published in the Maryland Register next Friday, October 26. If so, the rule and its emission limits will be effective November 5, 2018.
I reckon that the issue of whether waste to energy plants should be included in the State’s renewable energy portfolio will again be debated in the coming General Assembly session. The future of the incinerator is unclear as the City wrestles with its sustainability plan and its vision for a zero-waste future.
--Paul Smail, Chesapeake Bay Foundation