Waste Done Right

- by Ruth Tyson, Energy Justice Network
 
In 2012, Americans disposed of 251 million tons of trash, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Story of Stuff Project neatly lays out the way materials move through our economy from extraction to production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Most consumers don’t think beyond the “consumption” step. Once the undesirable mess is tossed from households, it might be considered “out of sight, out of mind” as long as it’s not seen or smelled. But where does it all go? Where should it all go? 
 
With the finite space for landfills running out, discovering ways to deal with our waste problem is imperative. The “waste-to-energy” (WTE) industry would like to persuade the public that their experimental technologies are the answer. However, such technologies actually cause more problems than they solve. WTE incinerators are the most expensive way to both manage waste and to create energy. While WTE reduces a large volume of waste, there will always be a toxic byproduct of ash that must be disposed of in a lined landfill so that it doesn’t contaminate our ecosystems. 
 

Families Get $4 Million For Fracking Water Contamination

In March, a federal jury awarded a total of $4.2 million to two families from Dimock, Pennsylvania whose drinking water wells have been contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas when drilling for natural gas. 
 
"It's been a battle," said plaintiff Scott Ely, co-plaintiff with Ray Hubert, in a lawsuit against Cabot filed in 2009. "You're up against a multi multi multi million dollar company. We are the lucky ones in the case, but there are still many more families in the Dimock area who are still without the benefit of clean water.” 
 
“This is a huge victory for Dimock families who have been fighting for clean water for over six years," said Alex Lotorto, Shale Gas Program Coordinator for Energy Justice Network. "Finally justice has been served."
 

Constitution Pipeline Permit Denied

- April 22, 2016, Energy Justice Network
 
On April 22, the New York Department of Conservation refused to issue a water quality permit for the Constitution Pipeline, a 124 mile pipeline that would've carried natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania to New York State.
 
Accompanied by heavily armed U.S. Marshals wearing bulletproof vests, a Constitution Pipeline crew began cutting down the Holleran family’s sugar maple stand on March 1. North Harford Maple is a family business owned by Cathy Holleran that produces maple sap and syrup. Cutting was completed on March 4.
 

How To Reduce Premature Deaths Linked to Environmental Risks

[Phasing out combustion-based energy such as fossil fuels and biomass energy can save lives]
 
– by Nancy C. Loeb and Juliet S. Sorensen, April 8, 2016, Truthout
 
Millions of deaths around the world are preventable every year without any additional spending on research for treatment. And the cause has nothing to do with gun violence or war.
 

Baltimore Incinerator Proposal Permit Yanked

On March 17, the permit for the Energy Answers trash incinerator planned for the Curtis Bay neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland was declared invalid by the Maryland Department of the Environment, capping years of protest from local residents and a student-led organization, Free Your Voice, part of United Workers.

Maine Towns Vote Whether to Burn Trash or Make Biogas

Actually, there's a third (and better) option and it's called Zero Waste.
 
- by Andy O'Brien, April 7, 2016, The Free Press
 
On March 31, 2018, it will no longer be economical for midcoast towns to send their household trash to the  Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC) incinerator in Orrington. That’s the date when the facility loses a lucrative energy contract to sell its electricity at above market rates. With PERC out of the picture, two nonprofits are bitterly competing for thousands of tons of midcoast waste. 
 
In one corner is the Municipal Review Committee, a municipal cooperative serving PERC’s 187 user communities and governed by representatives of its member towns. After determining that PERC was too expensive to continue running, the MRC developed a proposal with Maryland-based fiber-to-fuel company Fiberight and waste-to-energy giant Covanta to build a $67 million waste-to-biogas processing plant in Hampden. Fiberight claims it will be able to convert 100 percent of the organic material in the waste stream into compressed natural gas by using an anaerobic digestion process. In order to secure financing for the project, it needs a commitment from at least 80 percent of PERC’s user municipalities. 
 
In the other corner is Ecomaine, a municipally owned nonprofit that operates a waste-to-electricity trash incinerator in Portland. MRC would charge a $65-per-ton disposal fee and  Ecomaine would charge $70.50 per ton. But unlike Ecomaine, MRC offers its communities ownership benefits that would give member towns energy rebates from the biogas it would sell in future years. With Ecomaine, midcoast towns would only be contracted customers. 
 

Energy Information Administration: Trash Incineration About Disposal, Not Energy

The federal government's U.S. Energy Information Adminstration puts to rest the idea that "waste-to-energy" facilities exist to create electricity, instead admitting that their main function is to dispose of trash, with electricity as a byproduct.
 
 
At the end of 2015, the United States had 71 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants that generated electricity in 20 U.S. states, with a total generating capacity of 2.3 gigawatts. Florida contains more than one-fifth of the nation's WTE electricity generation capacity, and in 2015, Florida's Palm Beach Renewable Energy Facility Number 2 became the first new WTE plant to come online since 1995 and the largest single WTE electricity generator in the United States.
 

2 arrested - Sunoco cutting trees for Mariner 2 pipeline route

PLEASE DONATE: Sunoco is rapidly cutting down trees on the Gerhart's property in central PA to make way for more gas to be shipped overseas.

Two people were arrested today, one student from Juniata College, who is alleged to have crossed into the claimed Mariner East 2 pipeline right-of-way to warn crews that a tree they were about to cut held a safety line for one of three tree-sitting protesters, and another protester who had been telling crews to stay in the right-of-way.

They are both being held on contempt of court and are each on a $100,000 bail. Please donate and share widely. More info.





Dimock families win water contamination case against Cabot Oil & Gas

A federal jury awarded two couples from Dimock, Pennsylvania 4.2 million dollars after finding Cabot Oil and Gas negligent for contaminating their well water during drilling for natural gas.
The plaintiffs in the case are Nolen “Scott” Ely and his family, and Ray Hubert and his family who live next to the Elys. The Ely family has lived in Dimock since the 1800’s.

How To Fight a Pipeline

- by Alex Lotorto, Energy Justice Network
 
Energy Justice Network is on the cutting edge of fighting fracking and related infrastructure in the northeast.
 
It's a special organizing challenge to fight pipelines, as we're fighting a line, not a point, on the map. Companies and agencies won't release data listing all impacted landowners. In Pennsylvania, we have enhanced our outreach by using GIS to overlay company pipeline maps with 911 emergency addresses obtained from each county, allowing us to identify impacted landowners.
 
Along the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in northeast Pennsylvania, we used this information to mass-mail and go door-to-door to over 200 landowners in three counties to inform them of their rights and build a landowner coalition that meets quarterly.
 
Our goal for landowner organizing is to have them each deny survey permission to the company (Williams Partners LLC) so that permit filing can't be completed. Then, we intend to support landowners through eminent domain proceedings by providing referrals to vetted attorneys and appraisers.
 
Media strategy is just as important and we have had a number of human interest stories published in local and national news about compelling cases where landowners are standing up against Williams and other companies.
 
In Pike and Northampton Counties, we appealed the PA Department of Environmental Protection's air permits for twin compressor stations meant to pressurize the Columbia Pipeline 1278 line that transports gas to the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal. Both compressors emit the equivalent of a fleet of idling diesel school buses, making the local air quality especially dangerous for children's developing lungs.
 
During the compressor appeals, Columbia Pipeline motioned to dismiss our case and Governor Tom Wolf's attorneys agreed. However, the judge dismissed their motion and is allowing us to proceed with our arguments regarding best available control technologies, health impacts, local zoning approval, and other important considerations.
 
Most urgently, we're leading the cutting edge battle against the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, a project of Williams and Cabot Oil & Gas, which is proposed to carry fracked gas from Susquehanna County, PA to Albany, NY and beyond.
 
On January 29, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitted tree cutting to begin in Pennsylvania that must be finished by March 31 to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act as enforced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
 
We have landowners across Susquehanna County who have given our volunteers and staff permission to monitor the pipeline clearing for violations. On one property, where a sugar maple farm is producing syrup this season, we have set up a picket line where we've turned away tree crews for 16 days straight.
 
The picket at North Harford Maple has drawn both the attention of national media organizations like NPR and the Associated Press and legal action in federal court by the company. We're pledging to stick to it for the long haul so stay tuned for more updates!

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