Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 30, 2013

Covanta concern raised|Concerns raised during Covanta Energy event


Niagara Gazette — In an advertisement, the company invited the public to "learn how we generate clean, renewable energy from household to waste."

Witryol contends the process is not clean or renewable citing documents from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office and the DEC that deny that waste-to-energy facilities qualify as "Renewable Portfolio Standard," a classification that grants eligibility for certain tax credits.

"I disagree, and the state of New York disagrees, that this is sustainable," Witryol said.

Kevin O'Neil the company's business manager at the Niagara Falls plant, said other states and the EPA have described waste-to-energy companies as renewable.

Waste-to-energy facilities do qualify for some federal renewable energy tax credits according to the EPA's website.

"The EPA has determined that it is (renewable energy), along with 25 other states," O'Neil said.

Witryol also took issue with the company's inclusion of a rail spur expansion that Covanta is in the process of securing as part of Tuesday's session. That should require its own informational session, she said.

And the rail spur will allow the company to continue to import garbage to the area to be burned for decades, she said.

"Local governments should not be taking a stance on economic development that will promote more waste coming to the area," Witryol said. "They should be taking an economic development position that will stop the expansion of landfills, stop the trucking of garbage here and start the development of greener types of energy."

O'Neil said the rail spur will not increase the amount of garbage the plant incinerates — about 800,000 tons a year — but would create a more steady supply of waste to ensure that the company can fulfill its contractual obligations to nearby plants.

"We want to guarantee our supply of waste so that we can guarantee our supply of fuel," O'Neil said.

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