With the smokestack of Maryland’s largest trash-burning incinerator in the background, dozens of protesters held a rally on Friday in south Baltimore’s Carroll Park to demand either a shutdown or stronger pollution controls on the BRESCO waste-to-energy plant.
The activists gave speeches and waved signs beneath a banner that read, “Burning Trash is Not Clean Energy.” That’s a reference to a 2011 state law that gives the 33-year-old incinerator, operated by the New Hampshire-based Wheelabrator company on contract for the city, millions of dollars in tax breaks as a source of allegedly “green” energy, like solar or wind.
Seven years ago, the city approved a 10-year contract with Wheelabrator to burn 200,000 tons of municipal garbage per year, with the ash dumped in the city’s Quarantine Road landfill.
That contract runs out in three years. And City Councilman Ed Reisinger, who represents south Baltimore, was among those who spoke out Friday against continuing that contract because of all the air pollution released by the incinerator.
“We don’t want any more incinerators in the city of Baltimore,” Reisinger said. “If I had a magic wand, I’d close BRESCO down tomorrow.”