332 Shady Grove Church Road ~ Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27107 ~ Phone (336) 769-9198 ~ Email:


June 16, 2009

North Carolina Contact:
David Mickey, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League:
(336) 624-2412 (cell)

National Contacts:
Sylvia Broude, +1 (203) 589-9989
Bradley Angel, +1 (415) 722-5270
Monica Wilson, +1 (510) 883-9490 x 103

Despite Green Claims, Incinerator Industry Is Just Blowing Smoke
New report explains how waste incineration is harmful to people, the climate, and the economy

Winston-Salem, NC - Today the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League joined seven other groups to release a report illustrating the negative impacts of new waste incineration technologies. An Industry Blowing Smoke concludes that new incineration technologies, like older-style burners, are expensive, inefficient and contribute to both climate change and serious public health impacts. The report is available on the League’s website at: StopIncinerationBlowingSmoke.pdf

“Since North Carolina adopted renewable energy legislation in 2007, we have seen a variety of projects proposing to burn everything from railroad ties and wood waste to poultry litter,” said David Mickey, Zero Waste Coordinator for the League. “Where those materials come from, how they are incinerated, and who will be impacted remain unanswered questions for our state. As An Industry Blowing Smoke documents, renewable energy is not necessarily green energy.”

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is actively opposing proposals by Fibrowatt, a Pennsylvania company, to incinerate poultry litter in Surry, Montgomery and Sampson Counties.

"Trash incineration is more carbon-intensive than coal power and a leading source of dioxins in the United States," stated Sylvia Broude Lead Organizer for the Toxics Action Center in Boston, an environmental and public health non-profit. "Coming up with new ways to burn garbage is just another assault on public health and the climate."

In recent months, companies like Covanta, Casella and Waste Management (Wheelabrator) have launched massive lobbying campaigns aimed at convincing state and federal governments to include waste incineration as a renewable source of energy in the Renewable Electricity Standard in the Waxman-Markey climate bill - a legislative tool used to help utilities transition from greenhouse gas-intensive power generation to renewable energy such as wind and solar.

The waste industry, which relies heavily on government subsidies and tax credits, is misleadingly marketing a new generation of incinerator technologies as green technologies. The new report debunks industry efforts to greenwash gasification, pyrolysis and plasma incineration, pointing to more sensible directions that should be considered by decision makers.

"Our communities need comprehensive zero waste plans that would help stabilize the climate, reduce toxic pollution and create jobs, not more incinerators in disguise," said Bradley Angel, Executive Director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. Based in San Francisco, Greenaction has helped dozens of communities across the country stop new incinerators and landfills and promote safer, more economical options of recycling and composting. Recently, San Jose, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz County and Sacramento turned down gasification and plasma arc incinerator proposals.

According to An Industry Blowing Smoke, waste incineration competes with, and undermines the huge potential of green-collar job creation through recycling programs. According to Dave Ciplet - author of the report - recycling, re-use and composting create six to ten times the number of jobs than both waste incineration and landfills. "These new, expensive incinerators would keep much-needed funding and resources from being invested in real solutions," said Mr. Ciplet. "We could be creating millions of jobs nationwide by turning waste into work!"

"We can take immediate action on both the climate and economic crisis by rapidly moving towards a materials and energy efficient economy that does not involve burning or burying garbage," said Monica Wilson, International Co-Coordinator for the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance, "Recycling literally works."


Organizations Co-releasing the Report:
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives:
Toxics Action Center:
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice:
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League:
Energy Justice Network:
California Communities Against Toxic
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Clean Water Action:

Members of the Press:
To set up an interview, or if you have any questions, please contact:
Sylvia Broude, Toxics Action Center, Boston, MA
(203) 589-9989
Bradley Angel, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, San Francisco, CA
(415) 722-5270
Monica Wilson, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Berkeley, CA
(510) 883-9490 ext 103
In North Carolina:
David Mickey, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Winston-Salem, NC
(336) 624-2412 (cell)