Incinerator (WTE)

The question of whether or not Frederick County and Carroll County should build and operate a 1,500 tons per day “waste-to-energy” incinerator, somewhere in Frederick County, is one of the most significant and controversial issues facing the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners.

Since this entire blog is brand new, and I’m still figuring things out, I’m not entirely sure how best to address this important and complex matter here. But, right off the bat, it seems like a good idea to create a separate page for the subject.

To be clear up front: I’m adamantly opposed to the proposal. And, at this time, I remain the only commissioner speaking out against it. After studying the issue for more than two years now, I’m convinced it would be the biggest mistake this board could make.

So called “waste-to-energy” is actually a waste of energy. It is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. There are a number of legitimate concerns about long term effects on public health and our local environment. There is a very good chance it would prove to be a massive financial disaster. And it would come with an inflexible, decades-long commitment in a rapidly changing world.

No less on point: We have better choices. Options that are more environmentally-friendly, more flexible, less costly and far less risky.

We could be the last community – or one of the last – in the entire country to choose Waste-to-Energy incineration, permanently converting limited resources to ash (because the plan does not include only incinerating what can not be recycled or  composted). Or we can show real leadership, and become one of a growing number  of communities that will serve as working models of a better, more flexible and adaptable, more environmentally-friendly, and less economically-risky path.


Thank you to those of you who were able to attend my presentation on Tuesday, November 18, at Winchester Hall. It was good to have a decent turnout, even though attending on a weekday afternoon is not possible for most people (the Gazette estimated there were about 100 people in attendance). Thanks also to all of you who took a moment to express your desire to be there, but could not attend. And thanks to everyone else who is paying attention to this complicated and controversial issue

It is important. Your interest and involvement do matter. And it is greatly appreciated.

The presentation was entitled:

“A different way of evaluating the economic impact and options regarding Waste-to-Energy and Solid Waste Management.“

For those of you who were not able to be there, or to watch it on FCG TV, it is available on the county website as streaming video.

I have set up a new page on my county commissioner website. It’s titled, “Solid Waste Issues: Recycling, Waste-to-Energy and More” and can be found here:

I will be adding a variety of information and related resources about this issue, but, so far, it includes…

• Link to the streaming video of the entire November 18th meeting (including the presentation, discussion/debate and public comments).
or, if that doesn’t work:

• The Power Point presentation (converted to a 5mb pdf file) presented to the BOCC on Novermber 18th

• A selected (short and excellent) excerpt from the video of the November 18th meeting: Citizen comment from Chris Judd:
or, if that doesn’t work:

• GAO Cost Assessment Guide excerpt (an important attachment to the presentation, used as an example)

• Excerpt from the September, 2005 R.W. Beck report: Section 1.2 Scope of Work


Appearance on Frederick’s Forum (WFMD ) with Katherine Heerbrandt

Every Saturday morning, from 9:00am to 11:00am, on WFMD, Katherine Heerbrandt hosts a two hour radio talk show, called “Frederick’s Forum.” On November 29th, I was on the show for the entire two hours (with Commissioner Thompson joining me for the second hour). The Waste-to-Energy issue was the only subject of the discussion.

The show was heard live at 930 on your AM dial (in Frederick County), but it is also available on the web. Got to this page:

Then scroll down to “November 29th 2008” and click on either “Listen” or “Podcast.”

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