A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 November 19, 1991

Citizens hard work wins out:
A proposed 800 tpd municipal waste incinerator for Dakota County, MN, denied a permit on 11-27-91.

The Proposal:
Owner: Dakota County
Operator: ABB Resource Recovery Systems
Location: Rosemount, MN. Ash Landfill:
Major Proponents:
5 County Commissioners and the MN Pollution Control Authority
Major Opponents:
Dakota County Citizens Against Burning (led the fight since December 1987)
Clean Water Action, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Citizens for a Better Environment,
and every single environmental group in the Twin Cities.

A precedent-setting decision for ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes. In a 5-4 vote the Advisory Board to the MN Pollution Control Authority (MPCA) denied the permit to construct an incinerator that Dakota County had spent nearly $6 million to develop. According to Michael Orange of the Dakota County Citizens Against Burning the defeat of this proposal is secondary in importance to the impact this precedent setting decision will have on MN’s existing 11 incinerators when they come up for permit renewals. According to Michael Orange the public documentation (approx. 15,000 pages) that led to this decision includes all the critical conclusions concerning mercury, dioxin and lead emissions, and the toxicity of incinerator ash, which all led to the decision to deny the permit because of the adverse impact on the state’s environment. The core reason for the permit denial, according to Orange, was the conflict with the State’s mandated recycling goals. MN State Attorney General’s (Hubert Humphrey III) pointman on this issue, Elvin Kaul, was strongly for the incinerator. Attorney Charles K. Dayton was the main lawyer who represented Dakota County in trying to push the incinerator through. Dayton was recruited by Hennepin County six years ago to push through the 1,000 tpd incinerator in Minneapolis. He was hired by Dakota County 2 years ago, and was the prime spokesperson. Dayton is a board member of the State’s Sierra Club. The local Sierra Club in Dakota County opposed the Dakota County incinerator. Combustion Engineering got the contract from Dakota County three years ago to build and operate the incinerator. Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. (ABB) bought out Combustion Engineering in early 1990 (see Waste Not #100) and took over the contract. Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone commented to residents in Dakota County that he and other MN Congressmen had been lobbied in Washington ‘to stay out of the Dakota County incinerator issue.’ ABB’s tactics in the county included: a mailing to 33,000 homes; production of a 50-minute video, called “A Sensible Solution” that was distributed to all county libraries and schools. The citizens produced a counter video called “Waste of Energy, a $368 million mistake”. ABB did a lecture circuit of civic groups, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, VFW, which the citizens followed and asked for equal time. The County did a $60,000 report on “How to handle opposition to the garbage burner.” Construction unions were pro-incinerator.***Siting of the proposed incinerator: to have been located in rural Rosemount on property owned by the University of Minnesota (no school buildings on property). The vicinity of the proposed incinerator was polluted from munitions manufacturers during World War II, which the University allowed the land to be used for. Rosemount is surrounded by rolling hills and farmland: horse farms, mixed crops and dairy farms. The site was approx. 30 miles away from the operating 1,000 tpd Minneapolis incinerator.

Among the findings of fact on dioxin developed by the MPCA was the following:

“The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the incinerator
calculated an ecological hazard index of 7.03 for dioxin in the
Vermillion River resulting from operation of the incinerator. The
ecological hazard index benchmark recommended by MPCA staff risk
assessors is 1.0. Thus the ecological risk associated with dioxin
emissions from the incinerator is estimated to be approximately 7 times
greater than the benchmark. Moreover the MPCA is uncertain as to the
extent to which the carbon injection control technology will mitigate the
dioxin emissions. While the technology has been used successfully in
Europe, Japan and Canada it has not yet been used in the U.S. For these
reasons the MPCA considers the dioxin risk associated with the emissions
from the incinerator to be sufficient to trigger the requirement to consider
‘feasible and prudent alternatives’ analysis under the Minnesota
statute 116D.04 Subdivision 6...”

***The MPCA Citizens Advisory Board is a non-salaried citizens board appointed by the Governor. MPCA Advisory Board members who voted against the incinerator: Loni Kemp, William Urseth, Sandra Holm, William Bryson, and Chairman of the Board Van Ellig. Advisory Board Members for the incinerator: Dr. Daniel Foley M.D., Edward Garvey, Russell Domino and Russell Kirby. For more information contact: Dave Evans of the DAKOTA COUNTY CITIZENS AGAINST BURNING, 12460 Fairgreen Avenue, Apple Valley, MN 55124. Tel: 612-432-4894.

ILLINOIS: MASON COUNTY. A PROPOSED ABB RESOURCE RECOVERY INCINERATOR DEFEATED BECAUSE OF ACTIVE OPPOSITION FROM RESIDENTS AND THE MASON COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH. Citizens of Mason County, upon hearing of ABB Resource Recovery Systems meeting with the Mason County Solid Waste Committee on 6-12-91 to discuss a plan for a 1,000 tpd incinerator at the C & I M Rail Road coal docks in Havana, quickly came up to speed on what an incinerator would mean for their community. Due to the vigorous opposition that followed the proposal, “The Mason County Board voted unanimously [on 8-13-91] to kill continued study of a $150 million solid waste incinerator proposed to be built north of Havana. The decision came after a rush of opposition in recent weeks, which included death threats to County Board President Paul Martinie...The incinerator reportedly would have brought 1,000 construction jobs, 60 to 80 full-time jobs and up to $165,000 in annual taxes to the county. A $1-per-ton host county fee would have generated another $350,000 each year...” -Peoria Journal-Star, 8-14-91. On July 16th ABB flew the Mayor of Havana, representatives of C & IM, and four Mason County Board Members, and others, to see the ABB/Combustion Engineering incinerator in Detroit. According to a letter by James Griffin, Chairman of the County’s Solid Waste Committee: “The County Board has been asked to enter into an agreement with ABB for a one year study of this proposal. Expenses incurred by the County for this study would be paid for by ABB. In contacting the University of Illinois Solid Waste Resource and Information Center, they will at no cost to the County, help with any contracts for consultants and interpret the results of such studies. The local Natural History Survey will also be available for advice...” -published in the Mason County Democrat, 7-31-91. The Mason County Board of Health held a special meeting on 8-5-91, to consider the health effects of the garbage incinerator proposed for the Havana area. Mr. John Kirby, salesperson for ABB/Combustion Engineering, was present to explain his proposal. At this meeting “Health Board members voted 5-2 to adopt a resolution requesting that County Board members not sign a Letter of Intent with regard to the proposed garbage incinerator because of hazards to health and the environment...Dr. Lee made the comment that Mason County already has too high a rate of cancer. Concern was also expressed at the possibility of mercury and other heavy metals contaminating the wildlife areas.” ***John Kirby, director of the Illinois Solid Waste Assoc., and representing the ABB proposal for Mason County, participated in two unsuccessful attempts to locate other trash incinerators in Tazewell County in the last five years. - from a June 1991 Pekin Times report. For more information contact: Dr. Dorothy Anderson, 122 E. Elm St., Mason City, IL 62664

WASTE NOT # 174 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.