An Act to Regulate the Incineration of Solid Waste (H706, S1004)

 

Summary

This bill would permanently ban all incineration of waste for energy or other purposes in Massachusetts and phase out all currently operating incinerators in 11 years. 

Lead Sponsors

Representative Sean Garballey

Senator Sal DiDomenico

Background information

Before 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had a moratorium on new incineration, but since they have lifted it, the urgency has increased for enacting a legislative ban on incineration of trash and construction and demolition debris.

You can read about the dangers of incineration here.

In addition, Central Mass Progressives have been working on this issue.  They shared their perspective with us in March.  Clean Water Action is also deeply involved and issued this statement when the Governor lifted the moratorium on incineration in April:

“Don’t Waste Massachusetts, a statewide alliance of membership organizations, is deeply disappointed by Governor Patrick’s decision to lift the 23-year-old moratorium on new incinerators in Massachusetts as part of the 2010-2020 Solid Waste Master Plan just released. Reversing the policy against new incinerators is a huge mistake and a betrayal of the public’s expressed wishes.

#1: Facilities that burn waste take recyclable and compostable materials and turn them into toxic by-products that then must be landfilled. In addition to being the most expensive way to generate energy, incineration is dirty and inefficient. Gasification (staged incineration) has a record of failure in this country and worldwide. Also these facilities compete with recycling plastic, paper, and cardboard.

#2: In hundreds of hours of testimony at public hearings, and thousands of postcards and emails in which the public resoundingly called for waste reduction, and in almost 14,000 comments recently sent to MassDEP opposing a change in the moratorium­versus 11 in favor­the public has made it resoundingly clear that we don’t want more burning in Massachusetts. 

#3: The Administration’s decision to reverse its policy says to the waste industry and the nation: Massachusetts has veered off the Path to Zero Waste (the name for the draft Solid Waste Master Plan) and is open for burning. 

Don’t Waste Massachusetts alliance will continue to provide the facts about gasification and advocate for a Zero Waste state policy that embraces and implements “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Current Status

Senate Bill is before the Joint Committee on public health and the House Bill is before the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources.  Hearing was held on June 27, 2013.  No action to date.

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