Citizens plan opposition to incinerator, highway

May 12, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Two environmentalists delivered a strong message to 24 people gathered in the family room of a Finksburg home last night:

Fight the incinerator. Fight the interstate extension. Vote for politicians who agree with you.

"Rooms like this are leading the fight," Dru Schmidt-Perkins, director of Clean Water Action in Baltimore, told the group in Neil and Debbie Ridgely's home on Brookmead Court.

A citizens group that formed last month in response to Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell's idea to extend Interstate 795 through Carroll and build an incinerator at the Northern Landfill invited Ms. Schmidt-Perkins and Terry Harris, chairman of the Baltimore-area Sierra Club, to speak last night.

Mr. Dell has said his proposal -- to extend I-795 roughly parallel to Route 140 from Baltimore County through Carroll to connect with Route 15 in Pennsylvania -- is just an idea. The board of commissioners has not voted on it.

He also wants the county to concentrate industrial growth along Route 140 from Finksburg to Westminster.

Ms. Schmidt-Perkins and Mr. Harris recently were involved in a successful fight to stop a new incinerator in Baltimore.

"The key is, vote the bums out," Mr. Harris said.

Environmentalists worked to get sympathetic people elected to Baltimore City Council seats and residents organized effective action groups, he said.

When Ann Hintenach of Finksburg said Carroll's commissioners would be in office until 1994, Ms. Schmidt-Perkins said, "This is perfect timing to organize to get more people involved.

"They want more than anything to get elected," she said. "The year up to an election is one long job review."

Anita Huddlestun of Sykesville asked why some politicians like to promote incinerators.

Ms. Schmidt-Perkins said Clean Water Action groups have fought incinerators nationwide.

"The common element is ego. People in elected office want to show what they have done," she said, calling an incinerator "an elected official memorial."

Politicians are "technically driven," she said. "And citizens are believing technology is no longer the answer."

Finksburg-area residents have said they oppose the highway extension because it would disrupt the quiet, country atmosphere of their neighborhoods and hurt their property values. Some suggested widening Route 140 instead. They also said they oppose the incinerator because it would increase air and noise pollution and traffic.

Finksburg resident Andrew Dodge distributed a four-page paper that said why residents should oppose Mr. Dell's plan: The county cannot afford the highway extension, and industrial development would be close to the newly renovated Sandymount Elementary School.

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