Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Energy Answers incinerator project would put the health of thousands of Baltimore residents at risk

Columnist Jay Hancock's effort to take another journalistic swipe at BGE and Constellation Energy leaves the impression that the Energy Answers incinerator planned for Baltimore City is a benign, renewable energy project worth Marylanders' support ("This waste-to-energy plant could be a model for Md." Sept. 11).

In fact, the Energy Answers incinerator would generate only a marginal amount of electricity — at best 160 megawatts — while burning at least 4,000 tons of waste matter a day, primarily ground-up tires, vinyl, plastic, wood and municipal waste.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the project is the state's decision to waive the law prohibiting construction of an incinerator within one mile of a school. There are four public schools and several parochial schools in the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay neighborhoods; two of them (Curtis Bay Elementary School and Benjamin Franklin Middle School) are located within one mile of the Energy Answers property line.

There is no doubt that the incinerator will likely have significant health and environmental impacts on the families of an already environmentally stressed community that is overburdened with toxic air pollution.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory, existing facilities in the Curtis Bay, Brooklyn, and Hawkins Point neighborhoods emitted over 13.5 million pounds of hazardous air pollutants in 2009. It is not surprising that those same communities have some of the highest death rates from chronic lower respiratory disease in Baltimore City.

The EA incinerator will add to this existing toxic soup, producing ash and gases that contain known carcinogens linked to asthma, bronchitis, developmental delay and nerve damage.

Energy Answer's permit also authorizes it to emit 240 pounds of mercury each year — as much as is currently emitted by large coal-fired plants.

Mercury is a highly toxic metal that affects the human nervous system and can damage the immune system, brain, heart, kidneys and lungs. It can also impair neurological development in fetuses, infants and children.

These are some of the facts that Mr. Hancock conveniently ignores. There is no doubt that families from Curtis Bay and Brooklyn to as far away as Canton and Butcher's Hill could suffer irreparable harm if this incinerator's construction and operation are allowed to go forward.

It is both ironic and distressing that some government agencies and school systems apparently have signed contracts to support the Energy Answers incinerator. Government should not be considering using tax dollars to put the health of its citizens at risk, which is exactly what the Energy Answers incinerator would do.

Andy Galli

The writer is Maryland program coordinator for Clean Water Action.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Incinerator pollution is well documented

    I am responding to the recent letter by William F. Brandes ("O'Malley right on waste incinerators," Oct. 24) concerning The Sun's editorial on incinerators and the Environmental Integrity Project report on waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerators ("Clean power or dirty air?" Oct. 17).

  • Unheralded heroes of the Merchant Marine

    Unheralded heroes of the Merchant Marine

    As the widow of a U.S. Merchant Marine veteran of World War II and the Korean War, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read a Sun article claim Baltimore's observance of National Maritime Day "started seven years ago as a way of honoring merchant managers" (sic) ("National Maritime Day...

  • How to have a healthy Memorial Day

    How to have a healthy Memorial Day

    What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on Memorial Day were traffic jams and indigestion?

  • What's wrong with a 'glam mom?'

    What's wrong with a 'glam mom?'

    I read Wednesday Martin's commentary in the New York Times last Sunday and thought the "glam moms" she studied made a great choice (and were also extremely lucky) ("Poor Little Rich Women," May 17)! For too long, women have worshipped at the altar of full-time, outside the home, demanding jobs....

  • Obama's costly foreign policy failures

    Obama's costly foreign policy failures

    Peter Morici produced a fine piece of writing and logic ("The poverty of Obama's foreign policy," May 20). But he should give some credit to President Barack Obama's self-proclaimed "successes" in Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

  • Hogan sells families short

    Hogan sells families short

    Gov. Larry Hogan finally was able to have a "triumphant" moment when he unilaterally lowered tolls that will cost the Maryland Transportation Authority $54 million per year in funding that could have been used to rehabilitate our infrastructure or plan, design and build new infrastructure ("What...

  • Hogan's misplaced priorities

    Hogan's misplaced priorities

    I am disappointed with Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to withhold $68 million in school funding that the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to use to help our students ("Hogan funds pensions, but nothing more for schools," May 15).

  • Md. farmers need trade authority

    Md. farmers need trade authority

    Right now, Congress is considering Trade Promotion Authority legislation that will help U.S. negotiators finalize pending trade deals with other countries ("Fast-track's Senate stall," May 13).