In the April 9 letters to the editor (“Modern landfills a more environmentally-friendly solution”), a Casella employee wrote a few things that misrepresent the situation with their landfill at Juniper Ridge, and implicitly question the recent decision of the Town Council to shift its waste disposal to ecomaine.

Before addressing the letter, it is worth remembering at a higher level the reasons Brunswick chose ecomaine. First, ecomaine actually recycles more materials than Casella. Second, ecomaine converts waste to electricity, something Casella cannot do. Third, haulage from Brunswick to Portland will create less carbon emissions than haulage to Old Town.

The letter ignores or minimizes these advantages, while artfully attempting to reframe the issue as being about state of the art landfills vs incinerators. That is incorrect.

This is not about all landfills as the letter implies, it is about one landfill — the one at Juniper Ridge. Furthermore, the issue is not about all incinerators, it is about one that converts waste to electricity, which ecomaine can do, and Juniper Ridge cannot.

Through this larger perspective, the landfill is at a significant disadvantage. Their letter implies their landfill is as good as the best, but that is at best arguable, based on online information.

There are three problems with their claim that the levels of emissions “per ton” at Juniper Ridge are the same as those in a modern incinerator. First, they only report on methane they capture, not methane leakage which they don’t measure. Second, they ignore electricity generation which they can’t do, and third, ecomaine’s incinerated tonnage will be less than Casella’s landfill tonnage because ecomaine recycles a larger fraction of the waste.

Waste-to-energy incineration easily measures its climate impact because all waste gasses go through one stack, and all energy-containing materials are converted to electricity and to CO2. There is no methane, and just to remind everyone why this is important, methane is 20 to 85 times worse than CO2 (depending on the time period considered) as a cause of global warming.

The case for Casella is incorrect. The town made the right choice.

Rol Fessenden,
Brunswick

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