County Executive Candidates Spar Over Waste-To-Energy Facility

- FREDERICK, Md. - The two candidates for the first ever Frederick County executive are already sparring over what should happen to the proposed waste-to-energy facility.

Jan Gardner, the Democratic nominee, says the waste-to-energy facility should be scrapped.

"My position on waste-to-energy is that the county should take the opportunity after July 31 to exit the project," Gardner said. "I believe waste-to-energy is no longer financially viable. We don't have a partner."

This comes after Frederick County's partner, Carroll County, pulled out of the deal.

"Our partner has pulled out. We're looking for a partner, but at the same time, concurrently, we're looking at all the options, so I'm not about pandering for votes. I'm about finding solutions, long-term solutions, for our residents," said Blaine Young, the Republican nominee for Frederick County executive and current president of the Board of Frederick County Commissioners.

Gardner also believes the board of commissioners have not been transparent about the process.

"The lack of public process means that all of the possibilities were not discussed, debated, and then narrowed down to what we wanted to pursue in terms of evaluating financial costs, environmental costs, and long-term sustainability, and all of these things should have happened," Gardner said.

Young says the project is still in consideration, but commissioners are considering other options as well. He questioned Gardner's intentions with bringing the issue forward. 

"We're about finding solutions, not pandering for votes, and that's what's going on with this press conference, and quite frankly, I'm surprised," Young said. "She needs to be honest with the people. Are you for it? Are you against it? Are you for it? You can't just sit there and say, 'How many votes is it going to get me?'"

Gardner says the county should look at recycling, reducing solid waste, and contracts with out-of-state landfill companies.

"I believe waste-to-energy is no longer financially viable," Gardner said. "We don't have a partner, and the market for solid waste disposal has changed dramatically since we last ran the financials in 2009."

Young says an option is to not have the county build a waste-to-energy facility but sign a contract with a facility out of state. This could be a contract for up to 20 years.

"The fact is that the waste-to-energy technology is the best technology out there," Young said. "There's only two types of landfills. Ones that leak and ones that will leak, so just to keep on putting things in the ground is not the solution here in Frederick County."

Young said the board plans to hold a public hearing after they narrow the five proposals down to one or two.

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