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Burnt Out

Saw a note about a town hall last weekend to rally support to close the Detroit incinerator -- and I'm glad to see the fight is still on.

As a younger man, I can recall many summer nights on the eastside of Detroit when the sky was clear, the breeze was light and the air was filled with the foul stench of burning garbage. And even though we lived miles away from the city's big incinerator, which is also the largest in the nation, we always knew that we were never far from its putrid reach -- or its impact on our health.

I never understood how burning trash and spewing it into the air around communities whose residents are already wracked with asthma and other respiratory ailments was considered a "good" thing for Detroit, revenue be damned. And now that the city has long since sold the incinerator, which was built in 1986, I don't get why it is that we're still shouldering much of the financial burden for this thing and why it's still being allowed to spit pollutants into the air. (Although I do have my thoughts about the sort of people who think it's cool to line their pockets by supporting those who would build even more incinerators in the city.)

I was also dismayed to read that Mayor Dave Bing thinks this should continue:

Although he opposed continued use of the incinerator while campaigning for the mayor's job in the spring, Dave Bing and crew are now stalwart defenders of the plant, which generates steam and electricity.

Sorry, but we should've closed this carcinogenic open sore a long time ago. I guess Bing's position is clear. I just hope the rest of the city's shiny new leadership doesn't agree.

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  • 1

    While I agree on the myriad of health problems it presents - where's the cash to close it going to come from? It's easy to say "go away" but it's far more difficult to say "here's how to do it". Answer that for me and I'll have no problem backing the effort to shutter the place.

  • 2

    Although I'm never advocating for toxic pollutants to reside among residents; but many questions arise from this. Starting with, if we close the incinerator what will happen to the property? Where will we move it, to another impoverished community? Most importantly, where will this money come from.

    I always enjoy reading your posts, I've been reading for so long and itching to comment, so I finally created yet another online account here just to participate in the discussions. Please keep the good thought-provoking posts coming.

  • 3

    Pay for what? Detroit has no vested interest in the incinerator except that we pay them to burn our trash. What many of you better hope is that the city does not even consider buying back the incinerator with the 27 million in escrow at DTE. Which would be the biggest mistake behind building it.The only other contract we have with the owner's is the sub-ground lease which does not expire until around 2020. Detroit only has to step away as of July 1, 2010. Any other contracts will lock us in to at minimum a five year deal with Covanta and other investors. The incinerator does not at this time provide steam for the stream loop. There has been no contract since July. Also the steam loop only heats four school in the DPS system, contrary to the 198 you may have heard the Mayors office quoting.

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