The New York Times Examines Waste-to-Energy in the US

Waste-to-energy featured in the major press on April 12 as Elisabeth Rosenthal published an 1,800 word article in the New York Times entitled, “Europe finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags.” The article was incredibly positive and helped debunk many of the myths associated with waste-to-energy. In the course of her investigation, the reporter visited waste-to-energy facilities in Denmark and synthesized much of the relevant information about the ability of waste-to-energy to manage trash responsibly, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and avoid greenhouse gases. Activists given the opportunity to comment in the article could merely muster the view that  “Incinerators are really the devil.”   The article did include one error when it suggested that no new waste-to-energy capacity is planned or under construction in the US.  ERC sent a letter explaining the status of the industry and discussing the new capacity that has been built, is under construction, or is planned. 

Bristol WTE facility lowers it tipping fees

The Bristol, CT regional trash agency is lowering the cost of bringing garbage to the waste-to-energy plant in Bristol. "That’s a nice shot in the arm," said Bristol Mayor Art Ward. The 14-town Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee’s decision to lower its tipping fee by $1 a ton follows five consecutive years of the fee remaining the same.  For towns that use the facility, the change means a slightly lower tab for trash disposal, a welcome help for strained municipal budgets.  This is another example of a well run waste-to-energy facility benefiting the communities it was built to serve.

Former NYS Air Regulator Favors WTE

The Albany Times-Union published a letter to the editor from Jack Lauber, a former New York State air regulator, which Lauber discusses the benefits of using waste-to-energy as a trash management tool and why concerns over emissions are a thing of the past.  Lauber states that, "Modern WTE technologies involve enhanced waste recycling and separation, high-efficiency combustion and advanced air pollution controls including dry scrubbing."  Noting that the European Union relies on a combination of recycling and waste-to-energy, Lauber laments New York City's reliance on landfilling as their primary waste management tool.

ERC Testifies in Maryland in support of WTE

The Energy Recovery Council testified at a hearing this week before the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs in opposition to two bills that would have severely restricted the ability to construct waste-to-energy facilities in Maryland. ERC testimony this week complemented written testimony submitted last month on a third bill that would have also placed arbitrary limitations on the siting of waste-to-energy plants in the state. The Committee took swift and decisive action following the hearing and voted down all three bills. All three bills were similar in nature: they would have prohibited the Maryland Department of the Environment from permitting construction of a waste-to-energy facility based on proximity to homes, parks, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, etc.  ERC believes that these bills are heavy-handed reactions to garden variety not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) issues and would inappropriately limit the ability of local governments to make informed and considered judgments on the siting of waste-to-energy plants.

WTE Video Earns MERCURY Award

The Union County Utilities Authority (UCUA) has been recently honored with a Silver MERCURY Award in the Public Awareness Video Category for its educational video: “It’s Not Waste if it’s energy”. Established in 1987 with the principal purpose of advancing the arts and sciences of communications in an international arena, the MERCURY Awards exist to recognize and reward excellence, imagination and innovation. Winners were chosen from 290+ categories and classifications, honoring creativity, determination, functionality, originality, and smart thinking. The UCUA’s winning video, “It’s Not Waste if it’s Energy” details the process and benefits of converting municipal solid waste into clean, cost-saving, renewable energy for the residents of Union County, New Jersey. The video is currently featured on the UCUA Web site at www.ucua.org.