Appeal Filed in Wheelabrator Decision

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Town of Saugus Board of Health have filed an appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which issued a permit allowing Wheelabrator/Saugus landfill to continue at the site.

Filed last week, the appeal contests the decision from MassDEP, which allows Wheelabrator to place additional ash fill in two valleys within the limit of the landfill, subject to specific conditions.

State Rep. Roselee Vincent has been staunch opponent of the trash to energy recycling plant on Route 107 bordering Revere. Under the permit, Wheelabrator Saugus would be able to uncap 39 acres in two drainage valleys and fill them with over 500,000 tons of incinerator ash over the next five to 10 years.

“I am extremely pleased with Conservation Law Foundation’s and the Saugus Board of Health’s decision to appeal the permit approved by the MassDEP,” said State Rep. RoseLee Vincent.  “I thank both CLF and the Board of Health for hearing the cries of people who live in the shadow of Wheelabrator Saugus’ facility.”

“Wheelabrator/Saugus is an integral part of the state’s environmental and economic infrastructure, providing local communities with sustainable management of non-recyclable waste produced by households and businesses in the region while generating enough clean, renewable energy to power 38,000 homes,” said James Connolly, Wheelabrator vice president environmental, health and safety.

Vincent has stated that the decision by MassDEP did not take into account the severe flooding experienced by the neighborhoods surrounding the unlined ash landfill in January and March.

“The permit allows Wheelabrator to continue the same operations and does not change the monofill’s height, footprint or lateral measurement,” Connolly said.

“The time is long overdue for Wheelabrator to be held accountable for their actions, and if the MassDEP cannot live up to its core mission of  ‘ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes…and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources,’  I hope the courts will step in to reverse this irresponsible decision,” Vincent said.

“The MassDEP’s decision followed a rigorous, thorough and transparent process that lasted nearly a year, and included multiple public hearings and a comment period during which three-quarters of the 1,800 comments submitted supported Wheelabrator. The department considered all the technical issues associated with our operations, answered all public questions with thoroughness and specificity, and concluded that the monofill is safe and sound,” Connolly said. “It is unfortunate that the Saugus Board of Health and the Conservation Law Foundation have decided to appeal the MassDEP’s decision allowing for the continued safe and environmentally responsible use of the monofill. The Board of Health action will be particularly detrimental to the Town of Saugus.”

“We remain open to a dialogue with the town about a long-term plan for Wheelabrator/Saugus that will enhance our economic and environmental value to the community,” Connolly concluded.

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