Tag Archives: trash incineration

[NEWS] How a Trash Incinerator Became “Green” Energy

– by Scott Dance, December 15, 2017, Baltimore Sun

bal-the-greenwashing-of-trash-jerry-jackson-baltimore-sun

Photo: Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun

A trash incinerator in Southwest Baltimore is the city’s largest single source of air pollution. But a state law has nonetheless allowed it to collect roughly $10 million in subsidies over the past six years through a program intended to promote green energy.

Few commuters who pass the imposing white smokestack on Interstate 95 have any idea that the plant burns their household waste, that their electric bills help to maintain it, or that it releases thousands of pounds of greenhouse gases and toxic substances — carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde among them — into the air every year.

Read more

[NEWS] Pittsfield, MA Trash Incinerator Will Operate For At Least 4 More Years

– by Dick Lindsay, October 11, 2016, Berkshire Eagle

covanta_incinerator_pittsfield_berkshireeagle

Covanta Pittsfield (Photo: Ben Garver/Berkshire Eagle)

For at least four more years, Covanta will take trash and recyclables of Pittsfield and surrounding communities.

By a vote of 10-1, Councilor-at-Large Melissa Mazzeo opposed, the City Council Tuesday night backed Mayor Linda Tyer’s request to give $562,000 in Pittsfield Economic Development funds so the solid waste-to-energy and recycling facility can make the necessary upgrades to meet state and federal environmental standards and remain profitable.

Covanta announced in early July that it planned to close the Hubbard Avenue trash burning plant because the high operating costs and the size of the plant made it unprofitable. Tyer and her administration immediately began working on a financial package to entice the New Jersey-based company to forgo its plan to cease operation in March.

Read more

[EXCLUSIVE] Where Do Environmental Groups Stand on Bioenergy?

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

One-quarter of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2015 came from wind (21%) and solar (6%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, 43% was from generated from bioenergy, combusting trees, crops, manure, and trash for electricity and/or heat, or converting these materials into liquid transportation fuels.

So where do the nation’s largest and most influential environmental groups stand on bioenergy, the largest source of renewables?

The Biomass Monitor contacted representatives for the following organizations (listed alphabetically) to determine their stances on biomass power and heating, liquid biofuels for transportation, and trash incineration: 350*, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation*, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and Stand (formerly Forest Ethics).

*350 and National Wildlife Federation representatives didn’t respond to repeated inquiries, so organizational platforms are based on information found online.

Read more

Support A Full Spectrum View of Bioenergy

If you’re reading this, knowing what’s going on in the bioenergy world is important to you.

Whether you’re in the industry, an environmental or public health advocate, a journalist, a student, a government agency staffer, an elected official, or just bio-curious, you count on The Biomass Monitor to give you the nation’s most comprehensive look at this popular and controversial energy source.

There are a lot of sources of information for bioenergy these days, but very few of them cover the whole spectrum of views. While some media outlets might attempt this, they often fail due to a limited understanding of the science and oversimplification of the debate.

How much do you value The Biomass Monitor, the one publication out there offering you all sides of the story on biomass and biofuels? Enough that you’re willing to support our work to make sure it continues?

Here’s a little reminder of what we’ve been up to for the last seven years:

  • Every month, The Biomass Monitor puts out meticulously-researched, balanced, and high quality investigative journalism focused on the number one form of “renewable” energy in the U.S., bioenergy.
  • Our articles regularly appear in widely-read national publications including Truthout, Earth Island Journal, EcoWatch, Alternet, and Counterpunch, as well as popular local media outlets, such as the Boulder Weekly (100,000+ readers) and the Glendale-Cherry Creek Chronicle (the largest mailed print publication in Denver, Colorado).
  • We’re now publishing point-counterpoint opinion pieces in each monthly issue, where biomass supporters and critics alike discuss important issues relevant to bioenergy, like climate change, public health, and forests.
  • On a daily basis, we monitor, filter, and distribute the latest bioenergy news from around the nation via our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Our feed is one-stop shopping for anyone who wants to be kept in the loop on the latest bioenergy proposals, science, and politics.
  • We host free, monthly conference calls featuring experts speaking on various aspects of bioenergy.
  • We’re constantly contacting journalists across the nation writing on bioenergy and offering them a list of the most relevant contacts in the bioenergy field (industry groups, opponents, scientists, and everyone in between) to encourage balanced and informed media coverage.
  • We curate an extensive list of peer-reviewed scientific studies and reports relevant to bioenergy.

With everything that The Biomass Monitor delivers, surely you can agree that no other publication in the U.S. even comes close to what we’re doing. And, that with topics such as climate change, renewable energy, public health, and the environment becoming more and more crucial, we’re an important feature in today’s media landscape.

But none of this can keep happening without sustainable funding. And that’s why we’re contacting you today.

If you value the unique work of The Biomass Monitor—and are concerned about what its absence would mean when it comes to informing the public about one half of all “renewable” energy—please consider offering your financial support today.

Whether it’s $15, $35, $100 or more, your tax-deductible gift goes a long way towards ensuring that the American public stays abreast of the issues of biomass power and heating, ethanol and liquid biofuels, and trash and waste incineration.

Thanks for your consideration and ongoing readership.

Sincerely,

Josh Schlossberg, Editor-in-Chief (Denver, Colorado)
Samantha Chirillo, Associate Editor (Eugene, Oregon)

Editorial Board:
Roy Keene, Forester (Eugene, Oregon)
Dr. Brian Moench, Physician (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Jon Rhodes, Hydrologist (Portland, Oregon)
George Wuerthner, Ecologist (Bozeman, Montana)

EPA Makes it Easier for Biomass Facilities to Burn Construction Debris, Railroad Ties

– by Anna Simet, February 16, 2016, Biomass Magazine

ConstructionDebris2_14556644021271-300x300-noup

Photo: Biomass Magazine

The U.S. EPA has finalized an amendment to its nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) rule that will add three sources of fuel to its list of categorical nonwaste fuels, potentially making it easier for biomass energy facilities to make use of them.

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, NHSM rulemakings identify which nonhazardous secondary materials are or aren’t solid wastes when burned in combustion units. If material is a solid waste under RCRA, a combustion unit burning it is required to meet the Clean Air Act Section 129 emission standards for solid waste incineration units. If the material is not a solid waste, combustion units are required to meet the CAA Section 112 emission standards for commercial, industrial, and institutional boilers, much less stringent standards.

According to the EPA, the categorical listings make it easier to comply with the NHSM regulations, as facilities that generate or burn these NHSMs will not need to make individual determinations regarding their waste status.

Read more

This Isn’t the First Time Flint Has Had a Lead Poisoning Crisis

– by Lydia Ramsey, January 26, 2016, Business Insider

flint_water

Photo: Sarah Rice/Getty

Flint, Michigan is in the middle of a major lead poisoning crisis.

But unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the residents of the city have come in contact with large amounts of lead.

In the 1990s, an incinerator near Flint used wood from demolished buildings to generate electricity. However, because the demolished houses contained a lot of lead paint, that lead (along with a host of other contaminates) made its way into Flint’s air.

Read more

New Jersey Sierra Club Opposes Trash Incinerator

– by Kelly Nicholaides, January 21, 2016, North Jersey.com

012216-sb-arsynco001

Photo: Jaimie Julia Winters

A proposal to build a waste energy plant to process 140 tons of household waste daily at the former Arsynco brownfield site on 511 Thirteenth St. is coming under fire from Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, who is recommending that Carlstadt not sign an agreement for the first full scale Hydrothermal Decomposition plant in North America on the site.

However, the Pennsylvania-based Delta Thermo Energy, Inc.’s CEO Robert Van Naarden says Tittel has unrealistic goals and is spreading misinformation.

Read more

Maryland Dumps Incineration

– by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network

VICTORY!!  For a second year in a row, pro-incinerator legislation in Maryland was defeated.  This stealthy legislation was written by Covanta (the nation’s largest trash incineration company) and would put Maryland on the path to burning nearly all of the waste that isn’t recycled.

The legislation takes the Renewable Portfolio Standard concept (which mandates a phase-in of renewable energy) and applies it to municipal solid waste (trash).  Without even mentioning incineration, this “Recycling and Landfill Diversion Portfolio Standard” would move the state toward increased recycling, but require that the remainder be diverted from direct dumping in landfills. Rather than move away from both landfills and incinerators, the bill would create the market for burning nearly all of the non-recycled waste in the state, before dumping the ash in landfills. This fits with efforts by many corporations and cities to hijack the concept of “zero waste” to make it mean “zero waste to landfill”— pushing incineration and pretending that the ash isn’t then dumped in landfills.

In 2011, Maryland was the first state to bump trash incineration into Tier I of their Renewable Portfolio Standard, putting it in competition with wind power. This awful idea, pioneered in Maryland, is now being pushed in several other states. Please look out in your state for these covert attempts to promote incineration in the guise of recycling and “landfill diversion.”

This bill in Maryland passed the Maryland House, but was stopped in the Senate when their Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously (11 to zero) to reject the bill. See www.energyjustice.net/md/ for more information on this and other pro-incineration bills we worked to stop (all of which are dead for this year).

Many thanks to all who helped stop this misguided legislation, most especially Greg Smith of Community Research and the following organizations: Assateague Coastal Trust, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Clean Water Action, Community Research, Crabshell Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Food & Water Watch, Free Your Voice, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, No Incinerator Alliance, Sierra Club, United Workers, Waste Not! Carroll, Wicomico Environmental Trust, and Zero Waste Prince George’s.

Florida Trash Incinerator Proposal Bites the Dust

– by Josh Schlossberg, July 23, 2012, The Biomass Monitor

(Source: Laurie K. Blandford and Anthony Westbury, TC Palm)

A trash incinerator proposal for St. Lucie, Florida has fallen through following a unanimous decision by the St. Lucie County Commissioners to terminate the contract with Georgia-based Geoplasma, citing economic concerns. The 24 megawatt incinerator would’ve incinerated 600 tons of trash per day using a technology called plasma arc, which turns garbage into a gas and slag, a solid waste byproduct.

“Fortunately, the health of St. Lucie County residents will not be jeopardized since the incinerator won’t be built,” said Dr. Ron Saff, an asthma specialist based in Tallahassee, who had opposed the facility along with other area medical professionals. Saff offers his thanks to “the local medical community…who took a bold stand in St. Lucie County against the incinerator. This certainly helped win the battle.”

County Commissioners are now in negotations with New Jersey based incinerator developer, Covanta Energy Corporation, to build a thermal conversion facility at the county landfill to process municipal solid waste.

The canceled facility would’ve emitted toxic air pollutants, including particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, dioxins, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, mercury, and furans, as well as greenhouse gases. “In all incineration technologies, air pollution control devices are mainly devices that capture and concentrate the toxic pollutants; they don’t eliminate them,” according to Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in its 2009 report, “An Industry Blowing Smoke.” “By capturing and concentrating the pollutants, pollutants are transferred to other environmental media such as fly ash, char, slag, and waste water.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has concerns with the “syngas” produced through the plasma arc trash incineration process. “While the high temperatures can destroy organics, some undesirable compounds, like dioxins and furans, can reform at temperature ranges between 450 and 850 degrees F if chlorine is present,” according to its “Whitepaper on the Use of Plasma Arc Technology to Treat Municipal Solid Waste.”

Trash incineration often burns waste materials that could otherwise be recycled or composted. Ninety percent of materials consumed in U.S. incinerators and landfills could be recycled or composted, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. In 2010, Ocean City Maryland terminated its recycling program in favor of sending its trash and recyclables to the Covanta trash incinerator in Chester, Pennsylvania. Energy Justice Network has created a map depicting the locations of operating, proposed and defeated trash incinerators in the U.S.