Trash incineration is not a renewable energy source

March 26, 2011

Last week, the Maryland state Senate passed a bill to allow trash incineration to be treated as a Tier 1 renewable energy source, equating it with wind and solar power. That is far from true.

Incinerators are expensive and dirty and encourage waste. Burning our trash costs more and produces fewer jobs than recycling or composting systems. And incinerators have minimum guaranteed waste flows, which means that communities have to pay whether they produce trash or not.

This tends to result in a lot of compostable and recyclable material being burned, producing noxious pollutants instead of reducing waste.

Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard was established to encourage the development of renewable energy. But this bill would gut that standard, allowing incinerators from as far away as Ohio and New Jersey to claim renewable energy credits in Maryland. We need to reserve our incentives for true clean, renewable energy. Our delegates need to stand up for clean energy and vote down HB 1121.

Erin Barnes, Silver Spring

The writer is a member of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club.

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