With both the Wheelabrator – Saugus incinerator behind her along with the unlined landfill Wheelabrator seeks to expand and the Saugus River, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent once again called for the plant to be closed as about 30 people looked on.
The Department of Environmental Protection is considering a proposal from Wheelabrator to uncap 39 acres in two drainage valleys, and filling them in over the next five to 10 years.
“We stand together as an Alliance to call upon Gov. Baker and DEP Commissioner Suuberg to deny Wheelabrator’s request to expand this coastal landfill,” said State Rep. RoseLee Vincent. “If this part of the landfill becomes reactivated for the first time in decades, the river and the neighborhoods across from it would be susceptible to alleged contamination in the event of an intense storm. Major flooding events in Revere and Saugus last month highlighted the urgency of permanently capping this site to protect people and the environment from the risks of an active unlined coastal landfill.”
“We need a closure date and we don’t have one,” said Deborah Panetta, chair of the Saugus board of selectmen. “There is supposed to be a closing not an opening.”
“The proposed expansion of this ash landfill is one of the most significant violations of environmental justice I’ve seen in years in Massachusetts,” said Winthrop resident Cindy Luppi and New England director, Clean Water Action.
The landfill remains open today through a consent order, granting MassDEP full permitting authority over its operations.
“Given the alleged health and environmental risks associated with this plan, I am totally opposed to granting Wheelabrator this permit to dump more ash in their landfill,” said Revere City Councillor John Powers. “Statistics show that cancer and asthma rates are higher in certain neighborhoods of Revere than in other areas. Of particular concern are the Riverside and Point of Pines neighborhoods that I represent in Ward 5. In addition to higher rates of certain types of cancer and asthma, these neighborhoods are prone to flooding. With climate change and the increasing intensity of tidal surges, it is a terrible idea and would be a grave mistake to add more ash to the part of the landfill that is right on the Pines River.”
One Revere resident, Elaine Hurley, recalled 30 years ago when she and other members of Greenpeace protested against the plant to have it closed down.
The DEP is expected to make a decision on the Wheelabrator in the next few weeks.