No More Cash for Trash
When a trash incinerator burns trash, it creates heat and energy as a byproduct. Since 2011, Maryland has given rate-payer subsidies to area trash incinerators because the industry successfully lobbied to be included in Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard. When Maryland took action to increase our renewable energy goals and expand subsidies to reach our goals to address the climate crisis, the state also expanded the subsidies available for trash incinerators.
Unfortunately for our communities and our planet, trash incineration is very polluting. For people living nearby, the incinerators belch out air pollutants such as mercury, lead, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and the other residuals leftover when they burn trash. When Maryland added trash incineration to the tier 1 renewable portfolio, in addition to Maryland's two existing incinerators in Baltimore City and Montgomery County, there were also two proposed incinerators that were seeking to reap these financial benefits: an incinerator in Frederick/Carroll counties and a second one a hop, skip, and a jump away from the existing trash incinerator in South Baltimore.
Communities banded together to throw off these incinerators, spending thousands of hours at public meetings, rallies, comment letters, and letters to the editor. Volunteers spent their time, money, and energy to fight for years while the state of Maryland increased subsidies available for this industry.
It is time for the state to stop providing public subsidies for clean, renewable energy to an industry that pollutes our neighborhoods. It is time to take trash incineration out of Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard. Tell your representatives to take action and lead on environmental justice by deleting waste-to-energy and refuse-derived fuel from Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard.
As a veteran of the fight against the proposed Frederick/Carroll County incinerator said at the Maryland Environmental Summit shortly before the pandemic: "I would not want any community to have to go through what we went through to stop a new trash incinerator. Subsidizing incineration makes it MORE likely that Maryland communities will have to continue to fight."