BOONSBORO — About 20 area residents Tuesday night heard a litany of reasons why they should oppose a proposed incinerator in Frederick County that would turn garbage into energy.
Members of the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force invited Ellis Burruss, the leader of WasteNot! Frederick, a loosely organized citizens group opposed to the incinerator project, to offer his views.
Frederick County officials have been considering building the "waste-to-energy" incinerator since 2005, Burruss said.
Officials in Carroll and Frederick counties have an agreement with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority to develop the facility. Frederick County would pay $200 million and Carroll County $116 million.
Burruss said some Carroll County officials are getting cold feet over the incinerator, leaving Frederick County officials to look at other neighboring jurisdictions, namely Howard and Washington counties, to join the project.
He told the audience Tuesday that the cost of building the facility and running it over the next 30 years would reach nearly $2 billion.
Material promoting the incinerator, planned for the McKinney Industrial Park near the Monocacy River, said it would burn 1,500 tons of garbage a day and produce 55 megawatts of electricity.
No one spoke in favor of the incinerator Tuesday.
Burruss named three reasons why it should be abandoned: expense, outmoded unsustainable technology and the pollution it would cause.
Brigitte Fortin, a member of the Maryland and Catoctin Sierra Clubs, said the incinerator would cause air pollution.
Barb Hovermill, a native of Germany, said incinerators are popular in that nation. They work well because the government is involved and strongly promotes recycling, the Downsville resident said. And air pollution standards are much higher than those in this country, she said.
Burruss offered his group's expertise to the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force.
"It's a bad idea," he said. "Talk to your local government and talk them out of it."
The Washington County Commissioners who were in office before the November election had expressed interest in the incinerator in a letter to their Frederick County counterparts. The letter did not offer construction money, only an agreement to pay a tipping fee if Washington County sends garbage to Frederick.
Rosemary James, task force chairwoman, said the group invited Burruss to learn more about the incinerator.
The task force, a group of community activists who promote recycling in the Boonsboro area, got its start when the Boonsboro Town Council removed the single recycling bin available to residents because residents were dumping garbage into it, James said.
Some residents organized an effort to convince the council to return the bin.
"Now we have two bins," she said.
The meeting was held in the Eugene C. Smith Community Center in Shafer Park.