Claremont group disputes incinerator plant's permit
"The waste-to-energy plant is subject to an extensive set of stringent federal and state permit requirements and emission limits," Michelle Firmbach Nadeau, Wheelabrator senior manager of public affairs, wrote in an email. "The plant, which converts post-recycled everyday household waste into clean renewable energy, operates well within its permit requirements and emission limits. These comprehensive and very conservative emission limits are designed to be fully protective of human health and the environment, with a very significant margin of safety. New Hampshire has set a dioxin limit that is less than 1/4 of the EPA standard. The plant operates far below this standard, and, in fact, within a small fraction (or 1/6th) of this very protective New Hampshire standard."
Lajoie, a public health nurse, said the appellants represent a cross-section of the community, from nurses and doctors to farmers, accountants and teachers.
The Wheelabrator Claremont Company on Grissom Lane opened in 1987. It processes up to 200 tons per day of municipal solid waste and has a generating capacity of 5,000 kilowatts, which equals the electrical needs of 5,600 New Hampshire homes, according to the company website.
"I think back in the 80s this was seen as, 'This is how we can burn trash to make energy,'" she said. "We can't afford that anymore. We're burning up recyclable materials that we can't afford to burn and the burning of them is creating these toxins."
In her email, Wheelabrator's Michelle Firmbach Nadeau noted: "The U.S. EPA's Clean Air Act sets nationwide standards for a range of air emissions designed to protect human health and environment. Claremont is in an area where the air quality is well within these nationwide standards. The plant is strictly regulated so that it will not have any significant or adverse effect on air quality in the area."