Letters to the Editor 02-19-2020

Dear Editor,
The Alliance for Health and Environment is deeply outraged by the recently released Emission Control Plan for Wheelabrator Saugus that was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
MassDEP issued a Modified Approval for Wheelabrator Saugus Incinerator’s Emission Control Plan. Specifically, the Department of Environmental Protection required Wheelabrator to meet the new 150 ppm standard for Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). While Wheelabrator could meet that standard by reducing the pollution, unfortunately, MassDEP is also allowing Wheelabrator to meet it by purchasing Emission Reduction Credits. Rather than insisting Wheelabrator install technology that would make the region’s air cleaner, Wheelabrator can instead choose to buy credits from facilities that are below the emission standards required.
“While purchasing credits will allow Wheelabrator Saugus to comply with MassDEP’s regulations, it will not decrease the contaminants emitted by the incinerator,” Kirstie Pecci, Director of the Zero Waste Project at Conservation Law Foundation said. “This does nothing to better protect the health of the people of Saugus, Revere, and Lynn.”
“There are both locally heavy and regional impacts from smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions,” said Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action New England Director. “It is simply immoral to allow the Wheelabrator trash burner to keep pumping out this pollutant from its stacks, bringing no relief from the pollution burden locally. Shame on Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.”
“I am angry and deeply disturbed, that MassDEP is once again failing to protect the people of my district, as they always seem to do when it comes to this dinosaur of an incinerator,” said State Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “The DEP asserts that they are requiring Wheelabrator Saugus to meet the 150 particles-per-million emission limit for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). However, they are allowing this to be done by letting the company purchase ‘Emission Reduction Credits’ from other municipal waste combustors in the Commonwealth that meet and exceed today’s standards. Just because it’s legal to buy credits to meet the current standards doesn’t make it right or safe for those of us who live in Saugus, Revere, Lynn and beyond.”
“Cigarettes are legal, but everyone knows that smoking them is a major cause of lung cancer,” Vincent continued. “Allowing Wheelabrator to purchase credits to offset higher than acceptable emissions does absolutely nothing to protect the people I represent. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the total disregard for the health and safety of those who live in Wheelabrator’s shadow. It is reprehensible, and beyond unacceptable.”
“By the DEP allowing Wheelabrator to purchase Emission Reduction Credits to adhere to the 150 ppm standard, they are extending the life of this obsolete incinerator by negatively impacting the health and well-being of Saugus and our neighboring communities,” said Debra Panetta, member of the Saugus Board of Selectmen. “These credits might look ‘good’ on paper, but they will wreak havoc on our health. If all the other incinerators in Massachusetts can meet this requirement, so should Wheelabrator Saugus. It’s not fair to our community.”
“The impacts from the smog containing nitrogen oxide (NOx) are terribly dangerous on both locally and regional levels,” said Mary Lester, Executive Director of the Saugus River Watershed Council. “The future of all the people in the surrounding area is not being protected by MassDEP. MassDEP is turning a blind eye and allowing Wheelabrator to continue to pollute our air with a modified ‘Incinerator Emission Control Plan’. MassDEP required Wheelabrator to meet the new 150 ppm standard and then allowed them to purchase Emission Reduction Credits. MassDEP is refusing to do their part and insist that Wheelabrator install technology that would make the air cleaner for the future of all of us.”
“Despite tremendous opposition from local residents and officials, SAVE is extremely disappointed that the MA DEP has decided to allow Wheelabrator to skirt current emissions standards,” said Ann Devlin, President of SAVE (Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment). “This decision enables Wheelabrator to apply for and purchase ECR (credits) to meet the 150 ppm NOx standard rather than requiring this aging incinerator to retrofit its facility and, once again, ignores the health concerns of the people who live in the shadow of this aging incinerator.”
“The recent decision from MassDEP to allow Wheelabrator Saugus use Emission Reduction Credits to offset the state mandates to meet nitrogen oxide emissions is just another disappointment for the neighbors that live in the shadow of Wheelabrator,” said Saugus neighbor Jackie Mercurio. “Once again, this bad neighbor Wheelabrator has been granted another exception to the law at the expense of Saugus, Revere and Lynn’s health.”
“During the nearly three-hour public hearing on Wheelabrator’s Draft Emission Control Plan in October, not a single person except for the company’s own representative spoke in support of the plan. In fact, many people spoke out against the idea of Wheelabrator Saugus being able to buy their way into compliance with Emission Reduction Credits,” said Revere resident Richard J. Serino. “As I said the night of that hearing, those at the agency ought to hang their heads in shame for failing to protect us by mandating that Wheelabrator do whatever necessary to comply with 2020’s emissions standards. This is disturbing, but not the least bit surprising.”
To view the Modified Approval and related documents, you may use the publicly accessible online portal: https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/EEA/PublicApp/ and follow the steps below:
• on the Main page, click on the orange “Search All Online Authorizations” button
• enter the “Site Name / Owner” (in this case, “Wheelabrator Saugus”), and
• click “Search” to access the application list’

Alliance for Health and Environment

Dear Editor,
I am humbly asking you to vote for my longtime friend and colleague Valentino Capobianco for re-election to the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee in the First Suffolk & Middlesex District. Valentino will appear on the Presidential Primary Ballot on Tuesday March 3.
I have had the honor and privilege in working with Valentino since he decided to volunteer in his community at the age of 15. Professionally we serve together on the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee together representing the First Suffolk and Middlesex District. In 2017, as a member Democratic Party Platform Committee Valentino successfully advocated for language requiring Presidential Candidates to release their tax returns.
As a member of the Winthrop School Committee, he led the effort to improve full free day kindergarten to help reduce the financial burden on working families. Capobianco supported Question 3 in 2018 and in doing so, he fought for LGBTQ students, and earlier this year the Winthrop School Committee passed a resolution in favor of the “Student Opportunity Act” which changed the Chapter 70 funding formula. He diligently worked within the town budget to approve two Teachers contracts with salary increases, without layoffs and without a proposition 2.5-percent Override.
Valentino is a kindhearted hard working young man that loves public service. He is a leader that we can trust and it is my honor to ask you to join me in voting for Valentino Capobianco for Democratic State Committee on Tuesday March 3.
Denise LoConte
Democratic State Committee Woman

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