Activists urge removal of waste-to-energy incineration provision from CLEAN Future Act
Nick Califra is reporting for The Legislative Gazette a group of more than 100 environmental justice and environmental organizations, led by Beyond Plastics and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives are calling for U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko and Frank Pallone to remove waste-to-energy incineration from the CLEAN Future Act. The Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s, or CLEAN, Future Act would ensure the country acts aggressively to combat the climate crisis and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas pollution. However, many advocates argue the waste-to-energy incineration portion of the bill undermines its environmental protections and would set the United States back from reaching its climate goals. Global Alliance program director for U.S. and Canada, Denise Patel said, rather than propping up a dying industry, the CLEAN Future Act should focus on solutions that move the country away from a waste management approach that ties communities to toxic, polluting facilities that harm health and impede economic growth. The emissions from waste-to-energy incinerators have been linked to increased asthma risks, reduced lung functions and greater likelihood of hospital admissions. “Burning garbage is not clean energy and it is disappointing that the CLEAN Future Act actually includes financial incentives to burn a portion of the waste stream. Not only do incinerators emit air pollution and generate a staggering amount of toxic ash that must be disposed of in special landfills, but they are also often sited in low-income communities and communities of color — a stark example of environmental racism,” said Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics, a former EPA Regional Administrator and the former deputy secretary for the environment in the governor’s office. The bill was referred to the subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change on March 3. Read the full story in The Legislative Gazette.