General Assembly urged to restrict trash facilities STATE HOUSE REPORT

February 10, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Neighbors of landfills, incinerators and other trash facilities want the General Assembly to give the state Department of the Environment more sweeping powers to deny new or expanded operating permits.

Members of the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee were urged yesterday to vote for a bill giving the state secretary of the environment power to reject permits if the facility does not meet noise and odor standards and does not provide adequate buffers to the community.

"Right now, you could build a medical waste facility in the middle of a neighborhood," Doris McGuigan, a resident of heavily industrialized South Baltimore, said of the proposal to require buffers.

"This will help stop some of the noise and give people a little better life."

County officials and industry leaders objected that the legislation, sponsored by Senator Leo Green, a Prince George's County Democrat, would give the secretary too much power and infringe on the counties' authority over local land uses.

They also opposed a $1 fee the bill would require counties and industries to collect for every ton of trash dumped at municipal, ,, private industrial and rubble landfills.

Senator Green's bill was one of three measures considered yesterday that spun off of an environmental accord reached early last month by state regulators, community activists, industry leaders and environmentalists.

One of the other bills, sponsored by Senator Vernon Boozer, a Baltimore County Republican, would require rigid plastic packages, such as soda, shampoo and detergent bottles, be made of at least 25 percent recycled materials.

The third bill, also sponsored by Senator Green, would bar anyone from disposing of large household appliances, yard wastes and lead acid batteries in a landfill.

The Maryland Department of the Environment supports all three measures.

But even if the bills survive Senate scrutiny, they could face an uphill battle.

Similar measures introduced last year were all defeated in the House of Delegates.

L The bills' backers said all three would encourage recycling.

But representatives from the cosmetics, grocery, trash disposal, plastics and chemical industries, while supporting the bills' intent, argued against the additional regulations, saying they would do more harm than good.

"You need a balance between the environment and the economy," said Carolyn Burridge, with the Maryland Chemical Industry Council.

"I know many of the people who have spoken for this legislation. We've had many battles before. If we want industry, there is going to be solid waste."

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