Justice, greenhouse gas concerns may slow Covanta incinerator permit

State regulators likely will delay a decision on a new solid waste permit for Covanta Marion, the 36-year-old garbage incinerator in Brooks, to consider concerns raised during a public comment period.

Opponents say allowing the facility to operate as proposed flies in the face of Gov. Kate Brown’s recent executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the Department of Environmental Quality’s stated commitment to ensuring environmental justice protections.

“The Covanta Marion incinerator needs to cease operations and Marion County should send all of its solid waste to the Coffin Butte landfill that emits far less greenhouse gases,” wrote Phil Carver, on behalf ofthe local environmental group 350 Salem OR.

The incinerator burns most of Marion County’s residential and commercial waste, generating electricity that it sells to Portland General Electric.

The proposed permit would allow the facility to continue operating, and regulate what it can take to burn. It doesn’t regulate the incinerator’s air or water pollution emissions, which are governed by separate permits.

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