Statement on Governor’s Decision to Not Invest in Trash-to-Energy Plant, Meet New Demands of Market with ‘Innovative’ Measures

July 17, 2020

HARTFORD – State Senator Craig Miner (R-30) released the following statement in response to the Governor’s decision to not invest $330 million of taxpayer funds in the state’s largest trash-to-energy facility in Hartford, operated by the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA), and instead  pursue more innovative and sustainable resource recovery alternatives that enhance composting and recycling.

“This week, the Governor and DEEP Commissioner Dykes gave a very broad outline of the future of waste disposal and recovery in the state. While removing food waste from our waste streams by way of composting facilities is an emerging trend in waste management, this approach requires a vision and strong leadership to implement at the state level.

In order to make a composting facility viable, the Governor and DEEP must factor in the many stakeholders that have an interest in the resulting energy that can be recovered—methane gas. There must be a market for this energy, which will be underwritten consumers, distributors and possibly the state.

I also would urge the Governor to take a collaborative approach with the dairy farm community, which is interested in using the same approach with animal waste. Facts show that food and animal waste generate more methane gas and allow for more efficient production of electricity. Dairy farmers in my district have been doing this for years and the science behind this isn’t new. What would be new is a comprehensive and unified plan to recover these resources as efficiently as possible, and avoid the pitfall of over-development in this area.

The other recyclables that can be mined from the waste stream (glass, plastic, metal) are also more valuable on their own. Again, what is needed is a definite plan with real numbers on how these pieces translate to savings by way of weight reductions for haulers, reduced tip fees and beyond. As ranking member of the Legislature’s Environment Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on real solutions for sustainability in this state.”