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Start by enforcing existing rules on waste

In response to Lawrence Harmon’s Jan. 5 op-ed “Burning questions”: Framing the debate about lifting the incinerator moratorium as a battle between environmentalists and the state Department of Environmental Protection does a disservice to residents of the Commonwealth, who bear the economic, health, and regulatory costs associated with waste disposal.

Waste bans have been in effect in Massachusetts for the past two decades, which would be laudable but for the fact, as evidenced by a record of inaction, that the administration has abandoned enforcement of its own regulations. It doesn’t take an “environmentalist” to understand that laws and regulations that aren’t fairly enforced are worse than meaningless — they undermine public trust in our officials.

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Waste audits have consistently shown that much of what is thrown out as trash could be recycled or reused. DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell “pledges” to enforce the ban on burning and burying easily recyclable material, such as paper, bottles, and cans, and leaves and grass. If he came through on that promise, the alleged shortfall of disposal capacity would disappear, and we would have no “need” to burn trash.

Laura Zimmaro


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