Groups Disappointed by Public Service Commission’s Delay on Waste-to-Energy Petition

(ALBANY, NY) November 17, 2011— In response to the Public Service Commission's decision to delay the vote on a petition by the Covanta Energy Corporation to make garbage incineration eligible for the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Alliance for Clean Energy New York, American Lung Association in New York, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Citizens' Environmental Coalition, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Public Interest Research Group, and Sierra Club – Atlantic Chapter released the following statement:  
“The Public Service Commission had a simple task today,  to reject a petition to consider trash burning clean energy. Thousands of New Yorkers, as well as good government, environmental, and public health groups, and the commission's own staff, all agree the petition should be rejected. Today's delay won't change the fact that investing New York's precious dollars meant for clean energy to burn trash would be a major step backward in the state's ongoing attempts to reduce air and climate pollution and invest in a clean energy future." 

New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) was established in 2004 to promote clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar power to replace dirty fossil fuels.  Consumers pay for the RPS through a small surcharge on their monthly utility bills.

More than 2,500 letters opposing Covanta’s petition were sent in to the PSC this summer from a wide range of organizations, businesses, elected officials, and individuals (see attached list).   Due to its adverse environmental impacts and strong public opposition, the PSC has rejected including garbage incineration in the RPS twice before, in 2004 and 2010.

While Covanta is trying to recast garbage burning as “clean,” municipal solid waste incinerators are major polluters, generating both harmful air emissions and large quantities of toxic ash.