Montgomery trash incinerator opposed

February 19, 1992

Environmental groups have argued that emissions and ash from a proposed municipal trash incinerator in Montgomery County would pose a health and environmental hazard.

A hearing began in Rockville yesterday on whether the waste-to-energy facility should be built in rural Dickerson.

Attorneys for the Audubon Naturalist Society and for two citizens' groups, including the Sugarloaf Citizens Association, are challenging the state's decision to allow the 1,800-ton-a-day facility be built.

Lawyers for the county, for the Maryland Department of the Environment and for the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority countered that local and state officials had decided properly that risks to the public from the incinerator were not significant.

The lawyers' statements opened a hearing called to review the state's decision to issue a construction permit for the incinerator. That decision was challenged in court by the citizens' and environmental groups, who last year won a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling saying they had a right to air their concerns in a formal hearing.

The case, expected to continue through Feb. 26 and then recess until March, is to feature testimony from state and local officials involved in the permit decision and from health and environmental experts on both sides.

An administrative law judge is to recommend to state Environment Secretary Robert Perciasepe whether to deny the permit.

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