Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Massachusetts turns its back on incinerators

Citizen action convinced the state of Massachusetts (pop. 6.5 million) to resist pressure from the incineration industry, which wanted to overturn a 15 year moratorium on new incineration facilities. Read the story in the Boston Globe & Mail.
“We are serious about managing the waste we generate in a way that saves money for cities and towns, curbs pollution, and protects the environment,’’ said Governor Deval Patrick in a statement. “There are better ways than traditional incineration.’’

The defeat of incineration was led by a powerful coalition of 25 leading Massachusetts environmental groups including MA Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and MASSPIRG.
Lynne Pledger, one of the organizers of the campaign said: "To me the key elements that make this newsworthy are that Mass has not just rejecting more incinerators or specific gasification proposals, they are rejecting gasification out right and acknowledging that incinerators are not safe."
The Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs committed to producing a state waste plan that emphasizes recycling. Part of their plan is to bring in laws like ours in British Columbia that require producers to set up programs to recycle electronic products and empty beverage containers.

Bowles said that the state will also strengthen the moratorium by tightening up rules on the incinerators that currently burn about 27% of the waste in Massachusetts.

NOTE: The Globe story mentions in the last paragraph that part of the state's recycling strategy will be to "prod communities to increase so-called single-stream recycling, which eliminates the need for households to sort recyclables." Recyclers know that single-stream recycling is bad policy because it reduces the value of the recycled materials, among other reasons. Citizens in Massachusetts will have to get active again to steer the state away from this policy.

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