TruthToTell, Monday, June 10-9AM: BURNING GARBAGE: HERC Permits Still Firing Disputes

STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK HORNSTEIN (DFL-61A) Mpls – Member of the House Energy Policy and Ways&Means Committees

COMMISSIONER PETER MCLAUGHLIN– Hennepin County Board of Commissioners - Chair, Public Works, Energy & Environment Committee; Member, Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board

LARA NORKUS-CRAMPTON, RN – Former Member, Minneapolis Planning Commission; Community and Environmental activist; Presented with Minnesota Nurses Association 2012 Bettye Shogren Health and Safety Award.

ALAN MULLER – International Environmental Watchdog; Founder, Green Delaware; Active opponent of HERC – and all burning.


 TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query some of the key players in this four-year drama of application, appeal, revisions and more appeals and, ultimately to answer the questions we should all be asking: what is the safest alternative to the HERC facility and should it be allowed to burn even more than currently allowed. And what roles do all the elected and appointed officials in each jurisdiction play in all this?

The climate heats up once again around the wisdom of allowing the Hennepin County Energy Recovery Center (HERC) – or as it’s colloquially known – the downtown Minneapolis garbage burner – to up its garbage-burning capacity by 20% over its currently permitted limit, the advocates from every corner – the State Legislature, the MPCA, Hennepin County, Covanta Energy (contractor-operator of the garbage burning generator), Minneapolis, and several citizen commissions and advocates are active again in staking out recalcitrant positions for and against both the facility itself – and its application for increased burning. The heat comes from sometimes totally unrelated arguments regarding the same project:

Is Hennepin County’s and Covanta’s Waste to Energy (WTE) facility – the HERC – better at reducing the city’s and county’s wastes by not dumping them in landfills the way we as a society have done for centuries? Probably. The United States remains one of the very few industrial nations which still landfills nearly 70% of its waste while some European nations actually reuse and recycle up to70% of theirs, some of them almost down to zero landfilling.