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The Boston Globe

Editorial

Letter | STATE CONSIDERS A SHIFT ON MANAGING WASTE

Failure of leadership on state level

Lawrence Harmon (“Burning questions,” Op-ed, Jan. 5) seems to say, come on, let us be reasonable, and entertain these “new” technologies for incineration. The problem is the lobbyists aren’t peddling anything really new. If you try to visit these wonderful no-emission facilities, you’ll find no destinations in the United States where you could see anything but poorly performing pilot plants. Some plants in Europe were decommissioned because the toxic emissions were so bad.

Further, we are asked to believe that the state is just following the solid waste master plan, which calls for only supporting recycling and diversion. This is the same plan that the state has failed for years to finalize by a public release, so it is only on state assurances that they are “following” the plan. This kind of leadership is why communities that have to bear a disproportionate burden from these polluting, capital-intensive facilities, with their poorly managed trash transfer stations, are less than assured by the soothing words.

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Meanwhile, what is really needed is concrete action supporting the proven track record of non-polluting diversion and recycling, which is happening in municipalities across this country. Let the State Department of Environmental Protection truly support resource recovery efforts by local enterprises.

The failings in state leadership cannot be burned away under the guise of a supposed landfill capacity issue, and the state’s failure to follow the recommendations in a plan that supposedly encourages recycling cannot be solved by magical engineering of technologies that don’t deliver on the no-pollution promise.

Brent Baeslack

Haverhill

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