O'Malley right on waste incinerators

The Sun's recent editorial on incinerators ("Clean power or dirty air?" Oct. 17). implies that an environmental group's recent report on waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerators exposes new data that Maryland's governor should have utilized to decide not to raise WTE to a Tier 1 renewable energy source. I disagree.

The release of this report does not change the landscape of the debate. The report itself merely represents one advocacy group's cherry-picked analysis of a complex issue. After 30 years of experience with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I can testify that data can be filtered and interpreted in many ways to support either side of an environmental issue. This report is an example. However, decisions like this must be based on careful analysis of all available information, and all implications of that information, by government decision makers.

Gov. Martin O'Malley did exactly that in his decision to raise WTE to Tier 1. He carefully weighed all considerations (as he was elected to do) and came to the conclusion that the benefits of WTE as a renewable energy source support putting it on par with other Tier 1 renewables such as landfill gas, biomass, and chicken litter. As a result of this change in law, Maryland will lessen its reliance on long haul transportation, landfilling, and coal-based power while providing much-needed, locally-generated electricity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

In this case, an educated decision was made by an informed and impartial decision maker. Governor O'Malley should be praised for making a balanced decision, not excoriated in an editorial based on a highly biased data analysis by a special interest advocacy group with a singular agenda.

William F. Brandes, Easton

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