Commissioners Want to Back Out of Incinerator Agreement with Frederick County

The Carroll County board of commissioners informed Frederick County commissioners that it will pursue alternatives for solid waste disposal.

Carroll County commissioners took the first step to back out of an agreement with Frederick County to build a waste-to-energy incinerator.

In 2009, the previous board of at McKinney Industrial Park in Frederick. The plant would burn trash to generate electricity for approximately 45,000 homes between the two counties.

The plan has the two counties sharing in the construction costs that are estimated at about $500 million, with Carroll County taking on about $200 million of that. Currently, Carroll County pays to haul much of its trash to Pennsylvania.

Do you think Carroll County should back out of the incinerator plan with Frederick County? Tell us in comments.

If Carroll County backs out of the agreement, it could face a $3 million penalty. If both counties back out and drop the plan altogether, both counties would pay $1.5 million to cover money already spent on the project. But if a suitable replacement partner is found to take over Carroll County's commitment, Carroll County could conceivably walk away from the project with no penalty.

The commissioners agreed in Thursday's meeting to send a letter to Frederick County commissioners stating that Carroll County would like to explore alternative solid waste disposal options if they can do so without incurring a penalty. In addition, the Carroll County commissioners encouraged Frederick County commissioners to pursue any other parties who may be interested in partnering with Fredrick County on the incinerator project.

Commissioner Richard Rothschild said that part of the reason the commissioners have not made a decision on the incinerator in their first year and a half of office is because of the looming $3 million penalty Carroll could face if it backs out of the project.

"We could have easily made a political decision and just pulled the plug [on the agreement] but then the tax payers would be stuck with up to a $3 million penalty," Rothschild said. "We have chosen to not take the politically expedient route, we took a slower route to make decisions that would mitigate the likelihood that we would pay penalties." 

In February of this year, the board of commissioners at to discuss waste options for Carroll County.

In March, Commissioner tasked with exploring solid waste disposal options for Carroll County. Howard said he asked the group to find options that are actually being used as opposed to "pie in the sky" ideas; that handle a significant portion of the waste stream, and are cost effective.

Solid Waste Work Group co-chairs Don West and Karen Leatherwood presented some of the group's initial findings to the board of carroll commissioners in Thursday's meeting. They said there are viable alternate options for Carroll County, most of which involve educating residents about the issue and incentivizing them to create less waste.



Also on this topic:

John D. Witiak June 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Sorry for the repeats. I pressed submit in error and I don't know how to remove the first two partials of my full printed comment.
Kym Byrnes June 30, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Thanks for your comments John. I deleted your first two incomplete posts :)
Judith M. Smith July 01, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I am really concerned that as an alternative to the incinerator deal with Frederick County, that at least one...or possibly more...commissioners will look to Lehigh Cement as a place to just burn stuff as an "alternative fuel." Forget that this alternative fuel consists of all sort of things, including plastics...for which there are no tests to determine the safety of the AIR quality....
John D. Witiak July 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM
It is incumbent among those of us who don't like the possible health effects and anti-recycling flavor of burn baby burn to come up with recycling solutions as well as regulations that will keep our air (the air does still belong to each of us) toxic free.
JoeEldersburg August 06, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Hopefully this will finally put a fork in the WTE incinerator plan, which was ill-considered from the get go. Anytime you let an industry lobbyist and the financial beneficiaries of a project lead the discussion, instead of having responsible public discussions about alternatives, you are probably moving very far astray. Lest this board break their arms patting themselves on the back for doing something right for a change...let's recognize that the reason they are pulling out probably has everything to do with the obvious lack of investment capital to build a $200 million incinerator. They should have pulled the plug on this folly during their first month in office. If they weren't so distracted with denying climate change and tilting at stupid political windmills with the Governor, they may have had time to address this very important Carroll County priority. Zero points for our "late to the party" Commissioners. Kudos to Don West and Karen Leatherwood for demonstrating how changing our behavior will be ever more efficient than bankrupting the county with a smelly incinerator.


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