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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Commissioners Continue to Mull Frederick County MD Waste Disposal Options

George Wenschhof

Today, we publish the last in a series of columns on waste disposal options by Democratic Frederick County Commissioners Jan Gardner and Kai Hagen. Board President Gardner favors a proposed waste-to-energy facility, while Commissioner Hagen prefers further investigation into what may be a more environmentally friendly and potentially less expensive option, a Materials Recovery Facility combined with the existing landfill.

The manner in how a community handles the trash it generates is not a issue many voters tune in to - they just want the trash to be picked up regularly from their home. However, what does catch the attention of the voters in a community is when a decision nears as to where to locate a incinerator or landfill - no one wants it near them.

Yet, the decision on the manner of waste disposal is extremely important as it impacts the daily lives of residents for many years to come. We published these columns and will keep them available for easy reading (links are provided in the upper right hand margin of our web site) because we wanted Frederick County voters to have another source of information on this subject.

We thank Commissioners Gardner and Hagen for taking the time in their busy schedules to write on this subject. We encourage you to read these very informative columns and to contact the Frederick County Commissioners with your opinions on to how to proceed.

After reading these columns and being included in a lengthy email discussion, initiated by local community activist Alan Feinberg among a group of engaged individuals, I now have more information on this subject than most would ever want to know.

The participants in this email discussion have often been passionate from both sides of the argument as to whether or not to build a incinerator and support a waste-to-energy approach for waste disposal. This is to be expected in a discussion like this, but it is important to keep the focus on the issue and not engage in personal attacks.

I would hope these emails, which included all of the Frederick County Commissioners, will be introduced into the public record. They contain, on the most part, some very good information on this subject and should be made available to the public.

I would urge the Frederick County Commissioners to also ask county staff (if they have not already done so) to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of the various methods proposed for future waste disposal which would include a 20-30 year period from the present. This analysis would not only aid the voter but also the county commissioners as they make their decision on this matter.

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