Covanta is a poor choice for the public’s health

Covanta Niagara operates one of the largest waste incinerators in the United States. The smokestack owned by this New Jersey waste company sends mercury, dioxin and furan more than 400 feet high near the Love Canal neighborhood and into Western New York.

According to the New York State Department of Health, Niagara County has the highest mortality rate from asthma upstate, second only to the Bronx. What don’t we have? Traffic.

Last year, Covanta emitted carbon dioxide equivalent to 66,000 cars driving around Niagara Falls. We’d rather have the cars.

Incinerating garbage is worse than coal for energy. We’d breathe safer if Covanta replaced its waste burners with natural gas burners. However, most Covanta revenue comes from garbage incineration, not from selling steam or electricity.

Covanta Niagara has already spent or cancelled most of its $30 million proposed investment. Then there’s the $8 million IDA tax waiver for Covanta that did not induce anything.

The fact that the Greenpac paper mill is running and has received steam from Covanta for months dispels the myth that Covanta expansion was crucial to Greenpac.

Covanta won’t burn more waste. Instead, the company wants to import 30 years of New York City garbage that would displace 33 percent of all municipal waste disposed in Western New York last year.

Covanta is forcing more waste on this region. That’s not a reduction in trucks, it’s an increase that will cost our municipalities millions of dollars a year in higher waste disposal costs.

Covanta’s bid for New York City opens at 500,000 tons of garbage a year. However, its rail site application was for 3 million tons. The future only looks bright if standing next to their furnaces.

Sending New York City garbage to Niagara Falls, like rail access, should be stopped dead in its tracks.

Amy H. Witryol

Lewiston