Environmentalists decry waste incineration

by Peter B. LordThe Providence Journal
June 18th, 2009

Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts joined leaders of several environmental groups in speaking out Thursday afternoon against legislation that would lift the state's 15-year ban against burning garbage.

Roberts said incineration should be considered as part of an open and public discussion about handling the state's solid waste, not the subject of a bill handled at the end of a legislative session.

"I am hoping the bills will not pass this year and we'll have a long and public discussion," Roberts said. She joined Annie Costner of Clean Water Action, Sylvia Broude of the Toxics Action Center and Tricia Jedele, the new executive director of the Conservation Law Foundation in a press conference at the State House. They also released a national report condemning the gasification of solid waste. The report is called "An Industry Blowing Smoke."

Incineration will spew toxics into the air, lower the state's incentives to recycle and reduce its wastes and lock the state into a long term contract to supply wastes to a profit making company that would burn it to create energy, they said.

Covanta, a national waste to energy company, and Jefferson Renewable Energy, a local company, want to build plants at the state's Central Landfill in Johnston. Dozens of people attended a hearing sponsored by the House Finance Committee in May. A Senate hearing is expected, but not scheduled. The bills lifting the incineration ban are H6053 and S933.


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