HERC Burner info on KFAI

February 27th, 2012

Today at 9:00 a.m. , Alan Muller is going to be on Andy Driscoll’s Truth to Tell on KFAI, together with Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Karen Clark, and Lara Norkus-Crampton, RN.

Listen here:

Listen Now


For more information generally, see Neighbors Against the Burner, and look for HERC.

Here’s from Andy’s Truth To Tell site:

Should Hennepin County garbage burner operator Covanta Energy be allowed to increase its burning volume by almost 20%?

State  and city permits currently allow Hennepin County and Covanta to incinerate 1,000 tons of Minneapolis and near-ring suburban garbage at the HERC (Hennepin Energy Resource Center) facility in the heart of downtown (in Target Field’s backyard, so to speak). Covanta and the county want to up that by 212 tons per day, the maximum the plant could handle.

Here’s what Hennepin County’s HERC page proclaims (boldface ours):

About 365,000 tons of garbage (1,000 per day) is burned at HERC to provide enough electricity for 25,000 homes each year. Electricity generated at HERC is sold to Xcel Energy. (Covanta labels the 33.7 megawatts they sell to Xcel Energy as “renewable”.)

Through the steam line, HERC provides enough steam for the annual natural gas needs of 1,500 homes to buildings in downtown Minneapolis and Target Field.

Residents and businesses in Hennepin County generate 1 million tons of garbage every year. Processing waste at HERC is an environmentally preferable alternative to landfilling waste.

More than 11,000 tons of ferrous metal are recovered every year at HERC and recycled.

Processing one ton of waste at HERC prevents the release of one ton of greenhouse gas emissions. Since HERC opened in 1990, processing waste has prevented the release of 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Is burning garbage really the best way to a) manage our waste without landfilling it? and/or b) generate electricity or other forms of energy? Whatever happened to the recycling, composting and reducing waste targets developed years ago now? Is this WTE – waste-to-energy – system the healthiest alternative?

Burned materials of all kinds pour pollutants into the air we breathe – and choke on, creating unprecedented percentages of respiratory problems in children and adults, especially adults with chronic health problems.

Lead, cadmium and other heavy metals are released into the air over Minneapolis and blow in different directions at different times of the year, settling in the systems of residents all around the Twin Cities. Remember, this is added to other burning and pollutants from other sources, including energy and manufacturing companies dotting the Metro.

Even with all the money generated for Hennepin County by this burning operation, can the health protection mandate of the county and the state justify such data as an 11.4% rate of children’s asthma in Minneapolis or 9.2% county-wide?

Two years ago, the Minneapolis Planning Commission bucked its own staff’s recommendation and turned down Covanta’s and Hennepin’s request for changing the city’s conditional use permit to allow for the increased burning. Covanta started to appeal that decision to the City Council, but could see the media coverage and count the votes on the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee and pulled it back to consult with the Pollution Control Agency about modifying THAT permit to burn.

Their appeal was coming up again in Minneapolis this month – now they’ve asked for another extension for that – to October. Anti-burning advocates and other environmentalists are pressing hard to keep any more garbage from being burnt there, insisting that all burning, not just the increase, is killing people. (Watch an interview between guests Lara Norkus-Crampton and Rep. Frank Hornstein.)


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