Support Baltimore's "Ban the Burn" Act!
WHEREAS, Baltimore suffers from poor air quality, leading to health problems including asthma attacks, heart attacks, stroke, COPD, and cancer; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore City's childhood asthma rate is twice the national average, impacting 1 in 5 children; and
WHEREAS, the largest single source of nitrogen oxide (NOx) air pollution in the city, contributing to asthma attacks, is the Wheelabrator Baltimore (BRESCO) trash incinerator, the largest trash incinerator in Maryland, which is responsible for 58% of the NOx pollution from Baltimore industry, equivalent to half of the city's cars or half of the city’s trucks; and
WHEREAS, Black residents of Baltimore experience the worse impacts from asthma, cancer, stroke, and premature deaths from COVID-19 -- all aggravated by Wheelabrator's pollution -- and the community most impacted by Wheelabrator's presence fits a sad national trend of environmental racism; and
WHEREAS, since 2017, Baltimore City Council has unanimously adopted the Baltimore Clean Air Act, and seven resolutions calling for city action to reduce and eliminate incinerator pollution, to move toward Zero Waste, and for the city to aggressively defend the Baltimore Clean Air Act; and
WHEREAS, the new 10-year contract with Wheelabrator locks the city into more years of pollution from an aging incinerator that will still be the city's #1 air polluter even after meeting the new emissions requirements by 2024; and
WHEREAS, it's unlikely that a 36-year old incinerator will manage to operate until the end of the new 10-year contract, which would make it twice as old as the average incinerator that closed since 2000; and
WHEREAS, in late 2020, city councilmembers and members of the Board of Estimates swore that this would be the last time the city contracts to continue incineration; and
WHEREAS, incinerators are unnecessary and are the most expensive and polluting way to manage waste or to make energy, and
WHEREAS, Zero Waste solutions will produce 5-10 times as many jobs, reduce air pollution, and save and improve lives by reducing asthma, cancer, heart attacks, and premature deaths from COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, some experimental and polluting incineration schemes that have sought to locate in Baltimore insist that they're not incinerators, including waste-to-fuel facilities such as the one that would have fed processed trash to burn at the Energy Answers incinerator -- proposed for Curtis Bay and defeated in 2016 -- which sought to build within one mile of a school (illegal by state law) by claiming that they're a power plant, not an incinerator;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the undersigned organizations urge Baltimore City Council to adopt the "Ban the Burn at Every Turn" Act barring future city contracts with waste incinerators or waste-to-fuel facilities.