Open Letter to Carroll County Citizens – from Neil Seldman

Date: 18 Feb 2015 | posted in: waste - anti-incineration, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Dear Neighbors,

Carroll County citizens now join tens of thousands of their peers across the nation who have stood up to the silly and dangerous plans to build incinerators. Since the 1970s over 300 such efforts have succeeded. In 2014 alone 14 planned garbage incinerators were defeated by coalitions of organized citizens, small businesspeople and progressive officials. In January 2015 the first victory for these coalitions has been on the Big Island in Hawaii. In February, a plasma arc garbage facility in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada was cancelled, as the investment community deemed the financing too risky.

Like the many others before it, a combination of local citizens and national technical assistance organizations, that serve the grass roots, proved to be the undoing of a proposal for Carroll (and Frederick) County that had no social, environmental or economic redeeming qualities. In the process local citizens became experts in their own right, and are now helping other communities fight off their garbage incineration deals.

Further, Carroll County citizens by preparing their own alternatives report led to the formation of a formal County Citizens Solid Waste Advisory Council to continue research and advise Carroll County officials on solid waste and recycling matters. The chairman of the Council is Don West, a leading activist against the proposed incinerator. This pattern follows exactly the pattern of citizens defeating a bad idea and interposing the right idea such as in Los Angeles, Austin, King County, WA, and Alachua County, FL, among other locales.

Finally, your efforts prove once again that garbage incineration and recycling alternatives are neither a liberal nor conservative position. In Carroll County, for example, the folks involved in stopping the planned incinerator, are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Tea Party and independent minded voters. The anti incineration movement and pro recycling movement is, if anything, an anti incumbent movement focusing its attention on officials in office who refuse to listen to environmental and economic reason.

So, a big thank you to the folks who made this happen in Carroll County and spill over to Frederick County as well. You made your elected officials see the light that helps all of us. The wind makes neighbors of us all.


Neil Seldman
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Washington, DC

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Recycling and Economic Growth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is a member of ILSR's Board of Directors.