Baltimore Residents Face Potential Health Risks from New Incinerator (2/4)
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY

Baltimore Residents Face Potential Health Risks from New Incinerator (2/4)


Jaisal Noor reports on why residents and public health experts are fighting an incinerator being built in Curtis Bay, Baltimore's most polluted neighborhood -   October 3, 14
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



Supporting TRNN is a little like having my own television station. I can watch whatever I find interesting and at any time. I also enjoy the privilege of publishing my opinions on Disqus. - Gregory
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Bio

Jaisal Noor is a producer for The Real News Network. His stories have appeared on Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News and other independent news outlets. Jaisal was raised in the Baltimore-area, and has a degree in history from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Transcript

Baltimore Residents Face Potential Health Risks from New Incinerator (2/4)JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

We're continuing our look into concerns that the biggest incinerator in the country, being built right behind me here in Curtis Bay, will endanger the health of local residents here.

DESTINY WATFORD, ACTIVIST: It really scares me, because this project is going to cause a lot of pollution, and it's hazardous to the environment, and our health is going to be affected.

MIKE EWALL, ENERGY JUSTICE NETWORK: Well, this would be the largest incinerator in the country, at 4,000 tons per day. It would be the first new incinerator built since 1997.

NOOR: We reached out to Energy Answers, the company behind the project, but they declined our repeated interview requests.

The experts we spoke to told us they're especially concerned about the incinerator's health impact, especially on children that go to the two public schools within one mile of the facility.

MICHAEL TRUSH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR URBAN ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH: The main thing you're concerned about with a lot of this particularly air pollution coming up is the impact of children and asthma.

NOOR: The most dangerous form of particulate matter is PM2.5, which is smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. It is also known as fine particulates. The city of Baltimore exceeds the federal guidelines for acceptable levels of fine particulate matter, and Curtis Bay has the highest levels of air pollution in Baltimore.v

According to the World Health Organization, "Small particulate pollution have health impacts even at very low concentrations ... no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed." "Damage from particulate matter may not be known for 3-5 decades."

A study published in the Public Library of Science warns that even short-term exposure to PM 2.5 particulate matter is "associated with hospital admissions for all respiratory, cardiovascular disease" for elderly populations. And a study published in The Lancet, one of the most reputable medical journals in the world, showed especially increased levels of fine particulate matter in air pollution was associated with increased hospitalizations and death due to heart failure.

Yet the state's permit allows the Energy Answers incinerator to emit 153 tons of this fine particulate matter every year.

Mike Ewall, a leading anti-incinerator activist, works for the communities fighting dirty energy and waste facilities.

EWALL: Well, the Curtis Bay community is already one of the most polluted zip codes in the country. So it doesn't make sense to be adding more pollution and somehow justifying it based on a reduction of pollution in another community.

NOOR: State and city officials declined to speak to us, but pointed us to a 19 page response to public comments authored by state officials.

On pages 7-8, acknowledging Baltimore is not in compliance with standards for PM2.5, the state requires Energy Answers "to secure emissions 'offsets' for PM2.5 emissions"--buy emissions reductions elsewhere to balance the emission of PM2.5 at their Curtis Bay facility. Combined with stringent pollution controls, the state argues "there will be no net increase of PM2.5 in the general area."

EWALL: The concept of offsets is only to justify Energy Answers doing something that they ought not to be doing and pay someone else to do the right thing. Those offsets are not a legitimate way of dealing with pollution. They need to deal with their own pollution at the source.

NOOR: Energy answers and the state refused to say if they will seek offsets in Curtis Bay itself, and state law does not require them to do so.

According to a 2012 study by the Environmental Integrity Project, Curtis Bay ranks first in Maryland for emissions of air toxics. The emissions from this area constitute more than a third of toxic emissions in the state and nearly 90 percent of all toxic stationary source emissions in the City of Baltimore. The area has several coal-burning power plants and the country's largest medical waste incinerator.

The study also notes that air quality monitors recorded the highest level of PM2.5 concentrations in Baltimore City in the area. The monitor was removed in 2008, and the state has refused to answer our questions about why it was removed. The state's response notes, no regulatory standards exist for cumulative impacts, and such an assessment was not performed.

EWALL: Industries, when they get permits to pollute, do not have to go through any sort of process that looks at the fact that there may be other industrial sources polluting the same community. And it's very important that we have protections for communities, so that we don't end up clustering pollution in vulnerable communities like Curtis Bay--not that this technology would be appropriate anywhere.

NOOR: The Maryland Department of the Environment was unmoved when when presented with the testimony in this story, declining to respond, and instead referring the reporter back to the 'response to public comments' cited earlier.

For the next part of this story, we speak to Destiny Watford, a leader in the Free Your Voice youth group here in Curtis Bay. We also speak to Robert Bullard, considered the father of environmental justice.

From Baltimore, this is Jaisal Noor.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


Why is There Systemic Police Abuse in Baltimore?
Lawyers of Six Officers in Gray Case: Move Trial Out of Baltimore, And Away From Its Politics
Obama Secures Iran Nuclear Deal in Senate
The Necessity for Higher Wages - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (4/5)
Activist Kwame Rose Arrested Outside Freddie Gray Pre-Trial Hearings
Former Cop Says Freddie Gray Slowdown Didn't Prompt Crime Spike
TRNN Livestream Outside Freddie Gray Pre-trial Hearing
Trade Union General Strike Across India
In Landmark Ruling, California Prisons Halt Solitary Confinement
Veolia Pulls Out of Israel
Is Erdogan Creating a Perfect Storm to Get His Party in Power?
The US Dollar and the Search for a "Reasonable" Capitalist - Heiner Flassbeck on RAI (3/5)
Pre-trial Hearings for Freddie Gray Case Start Wednesday
What Has Changed Since Freddie Gray's Killing?
Labor, Bernie Sanders, and Direct Action: Larry Hanley and Morrigan Phillips
Is Obama Greenwashing His Climate Record in Alaska?
Key Pocomoke Councilwoman Says City Doesn't Speak for Her in Secret Meeting Controversy
Days of Revolt: The Revolutionary, Caged
A Broken System Breaks Families
Cheney Blasts Iran Deal, Forgets That as VP Iran Got Closer to Getting Nukes
DC Mayor's New Plan to Stem City Violence: More Policing
Extraordinary Brutality Inflicted on Civilians in Yemen
India's Economy Can Grow Without Increasing Carbon Emissions
The Media Assassin and Shooting the Enemy
Racing to a Dead End - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (2/5)
Pocomoke to Attorney General: Reason for Secret Meeting is Secret
Mediterranean Refugee Crisis Escalating
Who "Recovered" in Post-Katrina New Orleans?
The Global African: W. Kamau Bell & The Crisis in Detroit
Members of Syriza's Central Committee Defecting to Popular Unity

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting