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Bid to ease curb on incinerators flies in face of state’s plan

The headline to your front-page story on Feb. 8 seemed incomplete to me. It should have read, “Mass. to lower cap on emissions by power plants” — “and raise them on municipal incinerators.”

There is now a little-publicized public comment period for a proposal by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to ease the moratorium on municipal waste incinerators.

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The plan flies in the face of years of preparation of the solid waste master plan. The decision took people concerned with the environment by complete surprise when this U-turn in policy was announced in November. These people had worked with the state agency to develop the solid waste master plan. No draft of the plan that was ever made public had this reversal of policy in it.

The claim is that Massachusetts is running out of landfill capacity. The Department of Environmental Protection takes little notice of the fact that its own experts say that enforcing the rules on what may be landfilled and what must be recycled is a better solution than incineration.

One has to wonder whether the political leaders in this state think that diverting materials from the landfills into the air we breathe is a solution without side effects. The weight of material that does not go into the landfill when you incinerate does not get annihilated. It just goes up in smoke.

Steven Greenberg


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