The Board of County Commissioners struck down plans Thursday for a regional waste-to-energy incinerator, opting to haul the county's waste to a landfill with a short-term contract instead.

In a 3-2 vote, Commissioners President Blaine Young and commissioners Kirby Delauter and David Gray voted to kill the $471 million incinerator project by canceling the contract and related permits. Commissioners Paul Smith and Billy Shreve cast the dissenting votes to keep the project on the table while the county explores its options.

“It is absolutely no cost to the county to keep these options open,” Smith said. “To do away with these options is crazy.”

Terminating the project will not cost the county any money as the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, a quasi-governmental agency that helps the county meet its trash disposal needs, will pay the $500,000 termination fee. Any remaining funds after this payment will be divided between Frederick County and Carroll County, which was once a partner in the project. These funds are from payments the authority has received from Wheelabrator after the service contract was executed in 2010. 

However, Young said he saw no point in voting to keep plans for an incinerator, which would burn trash into energy, open since County Executive-elect Jan Gardner planned to scrap the facility after taking office Dec. 1.

“If the county executive-elect says terminate the project, what are you going to do within the next 30 to 60 days to convince her not to?” Young said.

County Attorney John Mathias said Gardner held the power to determine the fate of the incinerator project, not the County Council, if a decision was not made Thursday.

“I think you should terminate the whole thing,” Gardner testified in front of the board and roughly 100 people gathered at Winchester Hall, garnering some applause.

The board unanimously voted in favor of hauling the county's trash to an out-of-state landfill for $50.95 per ton with a maximum five-year contract.

After considering five proposals, including three out-of-state landfills and two waste-to-energy facilities outside of Maryland, the commissioners narrowed down their options between two landfills with varying contracts.

Commissioners previously leaned toward the first option, which offered contracts extending 25 years at an average of $54.97 per ton, although that cost could escalate annually with the consumer price index and fuel prices. However, the board unanimously chose the second option, which Gardner also favored.

About 30 people testified in front of the board regarding the incinerator project, with a little more than half in favor of scrapping it and the rest advocating for keeping the project on the table to consider it more deeply.

“The incinerator is a waste of energy, a waste of resources (and) a waste of money,” Brunswick resident Ellis Burruss testified. “It would be good to not waste any more time on it.”

Other residents noted the proposed location of the incinerator, near Monocacy National Battlefield, would ruin the park's beauty and tourism.

However, resident Greg Brown voiced his support for a regional incinerator, noting it was more environmentally friendly than the other options commissioners were considering.

“Even the best landfills ... are at least three times more pollutant than a waste-to-energy facility,” Brown said.

Another resident said Europe has been building waste-to-energy facilities for years without the negative consequences that many have brought up.

Jim Warner, CEO of the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority in Pennsylvania, pitched a proposal for hauling the county's trash, but the commissioners decided to go with an undisclosed out-of-state landfill with a short contract.

“I was actually for this (incinerator project), but with the energy prices and Carroll County dropping out ... I'm not,” Delauter said, echoing the sentiments of Young and Gray.

Follow Paige Jones on Twitter: @paigeleejones. 

Paige Jones covers business and biotech in Frederick County. She started at the paper in 2014 as a nighttime crime reporter before switching to business. A Kansas transplant in Maryland, she enjoys exploring the East Coast in her free time.

(29) comments

kimberlymellon

Congrats to all of you who have fought so long and hard for many years to educate our citizens, county staff and leaders on the dangers and cost of building an Incinerator in our beautiful county. You are heroes, one and all! [beam]

DickD

I am just wondering why after the elections and with just over a week left to the end of their term, the BOCC would take action on this. Maybe so Jan could not take credit for terminating it?

kimberlymellon

It's all about sealing the real estate deals for cronies. Blaine's Facebook Page is promoting his new job with Rocky Mackintosh. Matan and St. Johns (Blaine's last two biggest contributors) have had four years to ink deals on commercial holdings and multi-family housing surrounding what was a property devaluing incinerator site. Not forgetting the millions in losses of commercial leases that would leave if it were built. Especially neighboring scientific/bio facilities with stringent air quality standards for manufacturing life saving vaccines, require uncontaminated air.
Guess they will be writing lots of commissions checks to Blaine Young care of his new employer?

Extra Ignored

Beware Brad Young was elected to the BOE and his status as already benefited Blaine's new employer. Seems like Brad Young now has a conflict of interest.

http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=4107

http://blog.macrocommercialrealestate.com/frederick-classical-charter-school-cuts-the-ribbon

Frederick Classical Charter School
Board of Trustees
March 10, 2014
In Attendance: Tom Neumark, Ginger Mortellaro, Sue Middleton, Leslie Mansfield, Rocky Mackintosh, Tim Summers

http://static.squarespace.com/static/5032e99924ac2660dced1f19/t/536640aee4b06c6981286033/1399210158865/FCCS+BoT+meeting+3-10-14.pdf

ReadPhred

I'm glad this was dumped. Not because I think its conceptually a bad idea, but because everything I read indicated, the cost was much to high.

That said, I don't understand why it was so. There are many examples where this technology has had a positive return on investment, where it has reduced costs and improved energy availability.

Maybe its a scaling thing, maybe we were too small of an operation or maybe it was just not well designed or put together.

jerseygrl42

check out Dickerson in Montgomery, its bigger and the taxpayers there are subsidizing it to the tune of $40+ million a year...yet another wasteful authority boondoggle ...but they get theirs for sure just as they would have taken $25 Million in fees for ours, if small minded shreve , smith , marschner and others sniffing around would have had their way

Oscarpot14

Spread 40 million across the populace of MO Co. vs. Fred Co. and MO Co. math is easier to accept within the mind of finance. Glad it is gone now-don't really care who gets the credit. Power costs will become LOWER compared to the CPI in the foreseeable future- don't let the doomsayers fool you/us/all concerned.

jerseygrl42

$40 Million across 240,00 people ( not households ) and you've got quite a huge nut to pay each year...and for what???, last year we spent $7.1 Million to get rid of the trash and first year of operation of WTE will cost $79.1 Million....absurd...Resource Recovery is on the horizon and will create hundreds of jobs and a REVENUE stream...

jerseygrl42

...and btw, did you really want 71,000 tractor trailers running up and down rt 85, 75270 and 70 each way every year to bring in the imported tires and trash ...what the devil are you thinking ...oh and another 20,000 truckloads removing the toxic ash after burning ...yeah this was really a great idea

Dwasserba

Four words: "pay as you throw"

Extra Ignored

Municipal Experience with "Pay As You Throw" Policies:
Findings From a National Survey

We think additional research is warranted concerning the elasticity of residential waste production with respect to price. This study does not answer, for instance, whether larger differences in charges for higher volumes of waste generation translate into significantly larger changes in waste disposal behaviors. Does the price charged for stickers, tags, or bags for waste disposal have some optimal level in terms of its impact on waste reduction and recycling before more residents “rebel” and dispose of waste in illegal or undesirable ways? What impact do PAYT policies have among very low income residents or among those in multi- family structures where it is more difficult to implement a PAYT policy? All of these issues warrant additional attention by scholars, but this study provides evidence that PAYT has the potential to help advance the strategic goals of effective solid waste management.

http://web.utk.edu/~dfolz/payt.pdf

jerseygrl42

So, it is finally over , this travesty in the making which would have cost the citizens of Frederick $3 Billion over 30 years and kudos to both Gardner and Blaine Young one of whom brought this to us and the other who supported it for the better part of 4 years finally came to realize the error of their ways and took a turn to sanity and contract termination. Also thanks to Kirby and David for supporting Blaine's decision to dump the contract. Shame goes to shreve and smitty neither of whom have a clue about the impacts of the incinerator...or worse and to the waste...ful authority, (namely skaggs and davidov) which stood to grab $25 Million in fees from county taxpayers if this were built and whom lied to the public shamelessly telling us overand over that we were not on the hook to pay back the debt despite the obvious truth on page 12 of their Energy Recovery Agreement which stated that we are on the hook...and last but certainly not least in the SHAME dept goes to the not so special assistant marschner , who took $600,000 in the past 4 years and lied about every aspect of this travesty in the making ...even to his boss on his boss's radio show. he deserves to be horsewhipped and terminated asap as he serves NO useful purpose and our govt. should have NO place for people w/o integrity and honesty in their portfolio and he obviously has neither. We will wait to see if Gardner has the guts to do the right thing. Saving the best for last , thanks to the handful of public minded citizens from both Carroll and Frederick who gave much of themselves over these past 9 years to defeat this monster, and the rest of the citizens owes them an incredible debt of graditude for their unwavering actions to defeat this poison, money grabbing machine. Now its time to find a permanent solution and there are a number of options with the best appearing to be a Resource Recovery Park where more than 80% of what is today called trash can be recovered / reused and which will create a revenue stream and 3 or 4 times the number of jobs that the incinerator would have

Sallyforth

[thumbup] I vote that jerseygrl42 be named to County Executive Gardner's transition team.

pgallj

This was a smart decision by our BOCC... certainly financially, environmentally, and for public health. There was no partner coming forward to take Carroll's place... as Comm. Young noted, if this was such a good deal, there would have been other counties lining up to participate.
We dodged a bullet.
Re: what else to do, there are hundreds of communities handling their waste as a resource to be reused, recycled, composted, repurposed. This is a large and growing industry that creates thousands of jobs and encourages new small businesses to crop up to handle the waste (which then becomes a resource) and diverts it from landfill or incineration.
Why burn or bury something, and then have to remake that item from virgin materials? It's much more efficient to salvage and reuse/recycle. Only about 10-20% of our "waste" actually can't be repurposed or composted... and if we had built the incinerator, we would have had toxic ash to landfill comprising 30% of the amount of waste burned.
People believe we only have landfilling as an alternative to incinerators. There are lots and lots of other options. We don't have to reinvent the wheel on this.

Sallyforth

[thumbup] I vote that pgallj be named to County Executive Gardner's Solid Waste Advisory Board.

FrederickFan

jerseygrl42?

armillary

I'm getting in touch with my inner jerseygrl42.... jerseygrl42.... jerseygrl42......

wait, she has something to say....

'Jan may have said, “I think you should terminate the whole thing”, but she didn't say that's what SHE would do. Jan's silence on this matter is deafening.'

ONS5

If it was not costing us any extra, I would have left our options open. Now, we have no options without starting over if we need to, which means spending more money to get to the same point.

armillary

Blaine tore the contract asunder,
"Don't want nobody stealing my thunder."
"Though my time now is brief,"
"as decider in chief,"
"I continue to pillage and plunder."

dcg326

Finaly over , GREAT Citizens won or did we?

jerseygrl42

yes we did despite all the money folks who will do anything for the bucks

KellyAlzan

Now what will we do with all our garbage??

Unreal

public-redux

Truck it to landfills.

Extra Ignored

Or truck the trash to someone else's privately owned WTE.

What does the county know about operating a WTE.

Surely not any more than it knew about operating a nursing care facility after 200 years experience.

http://www.wastebusinessjournal.com/news/wbj20101214B.htm

DeDeuceCoupe32

Deport it to Mexico, Trade our trash for workers and drugs

Extra Ignored

Creating jobs in Mexico would slow the tide of illegal immigration.

But when population creating industry is established in foreign countries to benefit US citizens they should be built at the highest standard of care either this countries or the foreign countries.

International standards really should be established because pollutants cross borders.

jerseygrl42

kelly, you truly are a FOOL! Only the uninformed, ill-informed and those with a PIECE of the ACTION could possibly think it makes sense to spend $3 BILLION to turn 138,000 tons of Frederick trash into 151,000 tons of toxic ash that still needs to be hauled and landfilled...you must be a grad. of the marschner school of economics

KellyAlzan

Jersey - you Anna talk economics? You support giving Pedro free vacations to see his mother to the tune of $12,500 per trip, usually 3 trips total, and you wanna sit here and tell me about exonomics??? Really?????? LOL

DeDeuceCoupe32

The one who laughs all the way to the bank from pedros hard work gets the last laugh.[wink]

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