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Monday, June 23, 2008

Frederick Co. MD Democratic Commissioners to Discuss Waste Disposal Options

We are pleased to announce on June 30, we will publish columns from the two Democrats (Board President Jan Gardner and Kai Hagen) on the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on the issue of waste disposal. We encourage you to read their positions and to share your thoughts by entering comments at the end of their columns. Although they both agreed to write one column, we are hopeful they will both respond with a series of columns on this very important issue.

Decisions by local government officials have a direct impact of the day to day lives of residents in their communities. How to deal with the disposal of waste ranks up there with approval of developments and where to site a new jail as decisions sure to engage the voters in a community.

In Frederick County, Maryland it does not seem it has been almost two decades since the community had an intense discussion over where to place a landfill. Local groups sprang up in opposition to the plan by the BOCC to site the landfill on land owned by a private individual who did not want to sell the land for this purpose. After much debate, condemnation procedures were instituted and as a result, the current landfill came into existence.

Many issues were discussed, including the lining of the landfill, the potential of hazardous material leaching into the groundwater and other environmental concerns, the truck traffic generated to the site, and how long would this landfill be operational.

Today, this issue is raising it's ugly head again as local elected officials grapple with how to dispose of waste in their communities. Two of the new "buzz words" that have surfaced to help describe a position on how to handle waste disposal are "Waste-to-Energy or WTE" and "Zero Waste".

In the simplest terms, "WTE" involves the building of an Incinerator and "Zero Waste" involves a more integrated and coordinated environment friendly effort, including the increase of recycling.

Once again, local groups have thankfully sprung up to express their views on this issue. This is a benefit for the community to be informed on the options so decisions are hopefully made in an educated and informed manner with the future in mind.

One such group, Friends of Frederick County, sent a letter back in August of last year to the BOCC asking that they review recycling and composting measures as opposed to incineration. Read letter here. Another local group to check out is the Maryland Waste Study Group. Recently, Caroline Eader, another concerned county resident, initiated a trip to Boulder, Colorado so elected officials could see innovative methods successfully in use today.

Those in favor of waste-to-energy, promote improved technology along with the ability to create electricity. Also noted, is the capability to serve as a regional source for waste disposal. Here is some information from Kevin Dayhoff. a Westminster, Maryland resident who supports WTE as a better alternative than landfills.

As always, this is a crucial decision for local elected officials to make. Plan to visit our site and read the views of Frederick County Commissioner Board President Jan Gardner and Commissioner Kai Hagen on this issue June 30, 2008. Make sure you become informed and let your elected officials know how you feel waste disposal should be handled, keeping in mind a vision for the future.

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