Baltimore Clean Air Act Introduced!

Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator; Photo credit: Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun

Our years of work in Baltimore are paying off!

Since June 2017, Baltimore City Council passed four unanimous resolutions calling for a transition from incineration to zero waste. On November 19th, 2018, Baltimore City Council introduced our Baltimore Clean Air Act, and on January 30th, the Land Use and Transportation Committee unanimously approved it with a 7-0 vote! It now goes to the full City Council on Feb 4th for a vote, then again, assuming it passes, on Feb. 11th for a final vote before it becomes law.

See the Baltimore Sun coverage: "City Council proposes clean air rules forcing Baltimore trash incinerator to cut pollution — or shut down" and the Real News Network's excellent coverage at Baltimore Advances Bill that Could Force Incinerators to Shut Down.

This law we've been working on would force the city's largest air polluter (the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator) and the nation's largest medical waste incinerator (Curtis Bay Energy) to abide by the nation's strictest standards or shut down.

Wheelabrator Baltimore burns up to 2,250 tons of trash per day and is the largest air polluter in (heavily industrialized) Baltimore by far, responsible for 36% of the city's industrial air pollution. Curtis Bay Energy burns about 70 tons of medical waste per day, importing medical waste from 20 states plus DC and Canada! It's one of a small number of medical waste incinerators remaining in the nation, since over 6,000 closed in the U.S. as hospitals have moved toward cheaper and safer non-burn alternatives.

The Baltimore Clean Air Act requires that these incinerators meet the most protective standards in North America for nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury and dioxin pollution from incinerators. It also requires that they continuously monitor 20 different air pollutants and release the data on this pollution real-time to a public website.

Find more info about the Act at www.cleanairbmore.org/cleanairact.

If you're in Baltimore and have noticed Wheelabrator's many desperate mailings opposing the Clean Air Act, please see our responses here.

We encourage other communities to follow Baltimore's lead and work with us to develop local ordinances to hold polluters accountable (and prevent new ones) in your town. Check out our resources on stopping polluters with local ordinances, and be in touch!