Need to Know

Portland, Ore., Shying Away from Waste Incineration Option

Officials made the recommendation after reviewing a 211-page health impact assessment report.

Portland, Ore., officials are considering changing course on plans to send some of the city’s trash to the Covanta Marion WTE facility in nearby Marion County.

Officials recently reviewed a 211-page health impact assessment report. The decision of whether to move forward will be made by the Metro Council, a body of seven elected officials, at a work session to be held on August 8. 

The Covanta Marion facility treats 550 tons of waste per day and generates 13.1 megawatts of renewable energy.

But there are concerns about the environmental impacts.

The Portland Tribune has more details:

Voting to burn the Metro area's garbage to convert it to electricity was always going to be tough politically for Metro councilors to swallow, given major opposition here from health and environmental advocates and Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Even Covanta, whose garbage incinerator north of Salem would have been doubled in size to handle the new volume, seems to accept this deal is dead.

"Whenever your staff ... are suggesting you shouldn't go forward, you'd be hard-pressed as an elected official to go against the staff analysis," said Paul Gilman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for the New Jersey-based company.

If the Metro Council does decide to proceed, Ray said, the agency's staff recommended more research is needed on health and environmental impacts. That's likely to take two years and cost $500,000.

Read the full story here.

Correction: July 31, 2017
The story has been updated to clarify the state of the decision and the bodies involved in that process.
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