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Urgent: Don’t Burn Philly! Take Action Now, Stop Incinerator

June 7, 2012

At 11 AM today, Philadelphia City Council may approve an environmentally terrible, health-harming incinerator in Philadelphia unless you speak up right now! This is green-washing, not green jobs. We must fight for real green jobs, not asthma-generating toxic pollution which harms air, health, and groundwater.

What: Please call City Council now to table the incinerator

What else: Please sign the petition now to table the incinerator

What the public is hearing: Twenty minutes ago, WHYY reported, “The city says this new incinerator is environmentally sound.” In his classically understated critique, Clean Water Action’s Brady Russell responded, “It always turns out that incineration is incineration.” Below is an excellent Urgent Action Alert from Mike Ewall of Energy Justice, footnotes and all. Do sign the petition. But, since time is tight, please call your City Councilmember and at-large Councilmembers if you are in the Philadelphia area. Oppose the incinerator in no uncertain terms. City Council phone numbers and emails are here.


This Thursday, Philadelphia City Council is expected to cast a vote promoting dangerous trash incineration. [1,2,3]

EPA data shows that trash incineration is far more polluting than coal, releasing highly toxic air pollution and creating toxic ash that poisons groundwater when dumped in landfills.[3,4]  It is also the most expensive form of energy production.[5]  This is the last thing we need our City Council members supporting.

Please sign this petition to City Council and Mayor Nutter today and ask that they table the decision on these incinerator-friendly waste contracts, allowing time to consider alternatives.

The proposal being pushed in City Council will give the green light to Waste Management to spend $20 million on an incineration fuel facility in northeast Philadelphia — $20 million that could be better spent promoting more recycling and curbside composting or promoting truly clean energy production in Philadelphia.

To make matters worse, where this dirty fuel ends up is anybody’s guess — it could end up at any of the coal power plants, paper mills, cement kilns or other industrial burners in the Philly region, making our air even more toxic.  Do we really want to have a hand in potentially pushing our waste and pollution onto other communities?  We already send plenty of waste to be burned in trash incinerators that surround the city, much of it to the nation’s largest trash incinerator in Chester, PA — a blatant case of environmental racism, which Philly is downwind of.[6,7]

We have only until the City Council meeting at 11am Thursday (6/7/2012) morning to stop this terrible plan.  Please sign the petition now and forward to your friends, family and coworkers.

You can find copies of the bills, contracts and related documents in the links section of our page on the proposed trash pelletization plant here.

Mike Ewall
Energy Justice Network


[1] “ Philadelphia Lawmakers Eye New Use For Old Trash: Energy Production“, CBS Philly, May 30, 2012.

[2] “Incinerators: Myths vs. Facts,” Feb 2012.

[3] More info on the problems with incinerators is available in the reports you can find at

[4] According to the latest EPA data, trash incineration releases 2.6 times as much CO2 than coal per unit of energy produced.  Even if you discount the “biogenic” fraction (pretending trees instantly suck up the emissions from burning paper and food waste), trash incineration is still 32% worse than coal for CO2 emissions.  This is based on: eGRID 2012 database, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009 data released on 5/10/2012.

[5] “ Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Generating Plants,” Energy Information Administration, November 2010, p.7, Table 1.

[6] Energy Justice Map of trash incinerators:

[7] DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice:


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