This document clearly states that 71% of the revenue for Montgomery County's solid waste operation comes from their System Benefit Charge (SBC), and that includes the operation, maintenance, and financing of that county's trash incinerator (2012). Frederick County, watch out how much your SBC goes up if you build that burner!
Note how the SBC is a GOOD thing for the bondholders and the Authority. The jurisdiction can guarantee revenue, independent of the other sources of revenue (electricity, reclaimed scrap metal, tip fees), in perpetuity, with a built-in COLA no less! As we have said all along, these beasts are nothing but big ATM machines that convert taxpayer dollars into profits for big trash companies and bondholders. It's SHAMEFUL!
On Thursday, June 27th, 2013 the Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted to set aside $3 million to cover the penalty that may be imposed when they finally withdraw from the contract to build the Incinerator with Frederick County. They failed to set a date that would mean an end to their role, but that day is fast approaching.
Decision time is getting close for Frederick (and) Carroll County. Will they or won't they?
Draft NPDES Permit for Proposed Waste-to-Energy Facility in Frederick County
The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority submitted applications for three permits to the Maryland Department of the Environment relating to the proposed waste-to-energy facility in Frederick County. The Department continues to review two of these applications for the refuse disposal and air emissions permits. The Department has proposed refuse disposal, air emissions, and wastewater discharge permits in response to these applications and is now accepting comments on these draft permits.
The Air and Radiation Management, Land Management, and Water Management Administrations are conducting a joint public hearing on January 30, 2013. The public notice for this hearing is included in the documents list below. A previous hearing for the wastewater discharge permit was held on August 22, 2012. The January 30th hearing for the discharge permit is an extension of the hearing that was previously held in order to provide opportunity for further public comment.
Date of Hearing: January 30, 2013 (Snow Date: February 6, 2013)
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Tuscarora High School
5312 Ballenger Creek Pike, Frederick, Maryland 21703
MDE's regulations provide 30 days for public comment. Nonetheless, due to the interest generated by these applications, the Department will extend the public comment period by 60 days pursuant to Maryland Code, § 1-606(d)(ii) of the Environment Article. Accordingly, the deadline to submit comments is March 20, 2013.
All written comments on the wastewater discharge permit must be submitted in writing to:
Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21278-1708, Attn: Mr. Michael Richardson, Chief, Industrial and General Permits Division
Or, alternatively, comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the wastewater discharge permit application review process, see the list of documents and links below. The public hearing notice link below provides additional information for each of the three permits being proposed by the Department.
Documents Associated with the Application for State Discharge Permit 11-DP-3749, NDPES Permit MD0071226:
The Solid Waste Workgroup has delivered its final report to the Carroll Counrt Board of Commissioners.
In a recent Open Meetings Compliance Board ruling, the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority was found in violation of several rules about its meetings and operations.
Waste Not! Carroll is accepting volunteers for recycling and composting at the 2012 Maryland Wine Festival, September 15th and 16th, at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Morning and afternoon time slots are available on both days. Volunteers get free admission to the Festival and a Waste Not! t-shirt. Please contact volunteer coordinator Sally Long (email@example.com) to register. Thanks for helping us out!
Officials from Maryland Department of the Environment hosted the first Public Hearing in Frederick this past week, for the wastewater discharge permit for the planned incinerator. Things did not go well for the officials or Wheelabrator or the NMWDA.
To submit your comments to MDE, you have until October 22:
Maryland Department of the Environment
Water Management Administration
1800 Washington Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21278-1708
Attn: Mr. Michael Richardson, Chief, Industrial and General Permits Division
Check it out for yourself:
1. The proposed WTE Incinerator plans are based on financial, technological, and environmental assumptions that are inaccurate, out of date, misleading, or false.
2. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) plans to borrow about $500 million to construct the plant. Repayment is guaranteed by your system benefit charge (SBC) on your Property Tax Bill.
3. The plant will cost millions to operate which are guaranteed by contract to increase about 3% per year and will be billed to citizens via system benefit charge.
4. Frederick County plans on burning 200,000 tons of trash yearly but will be responsible for disposing of 151,000 tons of ash because Frederick as the host County will have to dispose of the ash resulting from trash imported from other jurisdictions. Frederick County will still need a landfill to bury the ash either in county or long haul it to another landfill.
5. National statistics show the volume of trash is decreasing and the amount of recycling is increasing.
6. Frederick County has not announced even one county signed up to provide trash to the incinerator and appears to be losing Carroll County as a partner. Since all revenue assumptions are based on a plant at full capacity, volume shortages will cause net cost to increase which taxpayers will pay for via system benefit charges.
7. The incinerator contractor is seeking permits to burn up to a million tires, emit up to 90 pounds of mercury, and discharge daily 180,000 gallons of polluted waste water into the Potomac River.
8. The Incinerator will emit particulate matter which consists of very small particles that can lead to serious health problems once inhaled.
9. The incinerator will be located within 3 miles of 11 schools exposing our children to particulate matter and other harmful emissions.
10. Alternatives are available for solid waste disposal that cost less than incineration and are better for the environment. They are known as zero waste and consist of recycling, reuse, and composting. The Carroll County Board of Commissioners has established a citizen work group to provide a report showing alternatives for solid waste disposal by mid-summer 2012. Frederick County Board of Commissioners should consider a partnership with Carroll County and terminate the contract for the incinerator.
-from our friends at the No Incinerator Alliance
That was the headline in the print edition of yesterday's Carroll County Times that accompanied this story by Carrie Ann Knauer. Honestly, I am still trying to sort out exactly what it all means in terms of the long struggle against the WTE incinerator and for a smarter, more sustainable solution to our municipal sold waste conundrum. Suffice it to say that few of us ever imagined seeing those words printed when we started out this endeavor, let alone that it would have taken so long for it to happen! Regardless, I think Thursday, June 28th, 2012 will be a watershed date - hopefully it will mark the beginning of the end of Carroll County's involvement in the WTE incinerator project - our incinerator independence day, as it were!
BUT, we must temper any sense of jubilation over these recent developments with a healthy dose of reality. Carroll County STILL is legally bound to Frederick and the Authority by contract - that has not changed. And Frederick County shows no signs of officially reversing its collective charge off the cliff.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted 3 - 2 to close the Hood's Mill satellite drop-off center for trash, yard trimmings and recycling. For residents in the southern part of Carroll County, this will be a loss of convenience and an increase in expense (additional fuel) and time required to get these materials to the Northern Landfill outside Westminster. We feel that this action to close Hood's Mill was premature and based on short-sighted financial projections. Worse yet, it moves us in the wrong direction as far as our ability to conveniently and cost-effectively capture these valuable resources.
Former executive director of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority is going to be asked to take over the troubled Harrisburg incinerator. Unfortunately, this article makes the rather understandable mistake of saying that she is a retired 'sewer executive'. Perhaps it's because our own little Ed Norton has spent so much time up to her ears in s***!
There has always been a lot of discussion about the wisdom of mandating a county or any jurisdiction to recycle. Many don't appreciate any authority telling us "what we should be doing". The reality is, we are always being told what to do. Taxes, jury duty, and traffic laws are just a few examples. Personally, a seat belt saved my life as a young man, but I didn't become a habitual seat belt user until I got my first ticket! Now that a law requires us to wear seat belts, compliance is over 95%!
Perhaps if individuals and businesses would step up and realize that diverting resources like paper, plastic, and metals from the waste stream would positively affect their bottom line, more would adopt the strategy - and NO mandate would be necessary. Well, here in Carroll County, one business, Jiffy Mart, has! Congratulations to JiffyMart for jumping into the 21st Century!
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It's almost as if Robert Frost wrote his poem, The Road Not Taken, with Carroll County in mind. For anyone who attended
this past Tuesday's Solid Waste Forum at Carroll Community College or who has seen the video of the event (I believe it is
now posted on the CCG website - http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/releases/Solid%20Waste%20Forum%20Results.pdf)
Carroll County is indeed at a crossroads. The choices are becoming clear - continue the contract with Frederick County and
the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority to build the WTE Incinerator or pursue some other option or options?
At the Forum, the presenters outlined numerous alternatives, including, advanced recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion,
gasification and other technologies. Once the citizens had their opportunity to speak, it became abundantly clear which road
they recommended taking - one that would lead to a long-term, sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally sensitive
solution to our 'waste problem' - Stop treating it as waste and start treating it as a RESOURCE!
Some may have viewed the Solid Waste Forum as the end of something, I like to think of it as the beginning. Hopefully we
will demonstrate the wisdom and courage to take a road less traveled, and in the process, become a leader in the emerging
concept of Zero Waste.
For more reading about the Forum, go to our News section to see several articles that have been posted.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners has sent out a press release announcing the 'official' list of presenters for the Solid Waste Forum, still scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th, starting at 7pm in Room K 100 at Carroll Community College. There have definitely been some changes and a whole lot of folks added! Fair and balanced? You decide -
Welcome and introduction of moderator 5 Minutes
Commissioner Doug Howard
Moderator - Ms. Kathy Hill
Overview of Current Services and Demands 15 Minutes
Mr. Tom Rio
Speakers and Topics 15 Minutes each
Ms. Lori Scozzafava – Ways to handle solid waste today.
Mr. Ted Michaels – How Waste-to-Energy works and its benefits.
Mr. John Carlton – Emerging solid waste technology.
Mr. Thom Metzger – All aspects of recycling.
Mr. Steven Chafitz – Governmental regulations and municipal solutions to solid waste with recycling.
Mr. Nelson Widdel – Large-scale composting.
Mr. Don West – WasteNOT! Carroll’s recommendations.
Company Representatives 5 Minutes each
Energy Answers International
East Coast Resources
Diversified Energy Partners
Princeton Environmental Group
ALFA Energy Solutions (Note: ALFA has withdrawn from the event)
Smart E2 Solutions
Audience Questions - Moderator
Audience Statements 3 minutes each
One final note, Waste Not! Carroll is attempting to get permission to sell espresso and '5-Hour Energy Drink' to presenters and attendees on the night of the Forum. If you do the math, it could be almost 3 hours until the first citizen statement/question is made. Hope you can join us and will be able to stay awake that long!
It's only Thursday, and already several in our little group have been called 'Tree-hugger' and worse, publicly, this week. When I am called names, I really do think about that old saying that my mother used to repeat to me when I was 5 years old and I'd come home crying after one of my Neanderthal buddies had hurt my feelings. Funny how even today we can act like kindergarteners.
I guess that name, 'Tree-hugger', is supposed to somehow 'put us in our place' for valuing all life on our planet and caring enough to try to keep humans and other species healthy and able to reproduce for generations to come. I'm old enough to remember when being an environmentalist was something to be proud of, when the first Earth Day event happened, and folks around the country decided that the planet was worth protecting. Fact of the matter, I'm STILL proud of that heritage, and I will gladly wear that label. Given the choice between long term survival of the planet and short term economic gain, I choose the planet!
Oscar Padilla, CEO of ALFA Group, LLC has asked for and will receive a letter from Taneytown's local elected officials outlining their interest in his proposal to build and operate a 1500 tpd plasma gasification facility somewhere within the town limits. Call me cynical, but from where I'm sitting, that letter serves one purpose - With that document in hand, Mr Padilla can go back to his secret investors and demonstrate that he is able to deliver the goods. They, on the other hand, will be asked to deliver the 'goods' in return. Welcome to the wonderful world of trash - the 'dirtiest' business around.
The Carroll County Board of County Commissioners seems to be having difficulty striking the right balance for their Solid Waste Forum, scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th at Carroll Community College. Despite efforts to attract speakers from a wider range of solid waste backgrounds, the current slate of speakers (upon a little research) appears to favor a distinctively 'pro-burn' tilt. Could this, once again, be an example of the unseen hand of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority guiding yet another BOCCs toward their Pot o' Gold?
If anyone would like to weigh-in on this unfolding situation, please contact President of the BoCC, Doug Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And most importantly, please come to the Solid Waste Forum on the 28th. This will undoubtedly be the best and possibly the last opportunity for citizens to speak directly with the Commissioners about this important issue.
Oscar Padilla, CEO of ALFA Group LLC, tried for a second time to allay residents' concerns about his plan to build a 1 million square foot plasma gasification facility within the town of Taneytown (total area = approx. 3 sq. mi.). Mr. Padilla spoke to about a 100 people on Wednesday night, while at least a dozen uniformed Taneytown police officers looked on from the rear of the hall, and an international woman of mystery surreptitiously snapped pictures of citizens as they spoke from the microphone. He tried at length to convince the crowd that he cared deeply about their community (as he does, I'm sure, for the half dozen other communities where he is currently trying to build one of these plants), while not permitting common folks to correct his numerous factual errors. He blamed members of Waste Not! Carroll and other 'factions' in the community for threatening him and spreading misinformation, yet I witnessed nothing but a steady stream of mothers, property owners and concerned residents questioning his motivation and understanding of the needs of this rural Carroll County town.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETING - Wednesday, February 8th, starting at 7:30 pm
The Mayor and Council of the City of Taneytown will hold a second meeting on a proposed waste to energy plant. Alfa Group, LLC will present information regarding their intention to construct a waste to energy facility within the boundaries of the City’s limits. The meeting will be held at the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company Activity Building, located at 49 Memorial Drive, Taneytown. The public is encouraged to attend.
TerraCycle tries to "revolutionize" disposable diaper recycling.
(There seems to be a glitch as far as going to the story from here. All articles are available under the News section above,)
The much anticipated Solid Waste Forum has an 'official' date and location, at least according to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners recently released Weekly Agenda. It will be held on Tuesday, February 28, starting at 7 pm, in Building K (the 'new' building), Room 100 at Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster, MD. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the community and the Carroll County Board of Commissioners to discuss their position on the proposed WTE incinerator with Frederick County AND other Municipal Solid Waste options that are available. Stay tuned for more details as they develop!
The Mayor and Council of the City of Taneytown, along with a crowd of about 100 citizens, heard Oscar Padilla, CEO of ALFA Group LLC, outline his company's plans for a plasma gasification waste facility he would like to see built in Taneytown.
Eldersburg resident Dan Gallagher's timely LTE in the Carroll County Times.
Bruce Holstein submits a new Other Voices column to the Carroll County Times, slams NMWDA numbers.
Click Here to Read His Column
Maryland environmental officials have fined Wheelabrator Baltimore LP $77,500 for air pollution.
The trash incinerator, whose smokestacks welcome visitors to Baltimore from Interstate 95, exceeded its mercury emission limit in an annual test in 2010. That’s according to the Maryland Department of the Environment, which, along with the office of the attorney general, levied the fine.
Lew Sherman's Letter to the Editor.
Another concerned citizen of Fredrick county voices concern over the proposed trash burning plant. Read her Letter to the Editor here.
In a pointed editorial piece, The Baltimore Sun has echoed the view of so many people in this state: No more trash burning plants! Click Here to Read the Piece.
In a recent editorial, the Carroll County Times called on the County's Board of Commissioners to make a decision on whether or not to remain in a partnership with Frederick County to build a trash burning plant. The decision should be a straightforward one - besides the serious environmental risks that the plant poses as well as the inconceivable price tag that it comes with, several of the commissioners campaigned against the plant when they were running for office. It's time that they make true on their promise!
Like Carroll and Frederick Counties, citizens in the city of Vancouver, BC are also fighting plans to build a waste incinerator. As this recent article mentions, in addition to putting local governments into debt, degrading the surrounding environment, the smoke that incinerators release as they burn garbage poses a serious hazard to human health. Click here to read more.
Check out this great little video, featuring Waste Not!'s own Don West!
From Frederick News Post, July 22, 2011
By Patti S. Borda
Lehigh Cement in Union Bridge has announced that they will start burning garbage in order to fuel their plant. They are doing their best to make sure that the processes that they will be using is as innocuous sounding as possible, calling the garbage "engineered fuel" and claiming that it is "cleaner, greener, and renewable" when compared to the coal that they currently burn to fuel the plant. Let's be clear about a few things, though: First, there is nothing clean, green, or renewable about burning garbage. The plastics and rubbers that they will likely be burning are only as renewable as the petroleum from which these products were derived. Second, this is a new process - Lehigh has no idea what kind of health effects this could have. Any claims otherwise are baseless.Third, Lehigh is not doing this because it cares about the environment, it's doing this because it wants to increase its profits. This particular plant has repeatedly gotten in trouble with state and federal regulators because of its staggeringly high levels of mercury emissions, (it is the second largest source of mercury emissions in the state of Maryland). A switch away from mercury heavy coal and towards this untested fuel is nothing more than a (literal) smoke screen to temporarily keep regulators off their backs. And finally, as Carroll County seems to poised to pull out of the disastrous Frederick incinerator partnership, it seems only too perfect that Lehigh, (whose past plant manager is now a county commissioner), would be starting to retrofit their plant to burn garbage.
Sites at Monocacy, South Mountain highlight conflict with modern society
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun, April 25, 2011
Standing behind the old brick Worthington House, visitors can look down the gently sloping hillside and picture the Civil War battle that likely saved the nation's capital from capture.
Much of the farmland where Union soldiers fought that hot summer day in 1864 to delay a Confederate attack on Washington has been preserved as Monocacy National Battlefield. But the view from the Worthington farm, where the fighting began, appears fated to become less historic.
A huge waste-to-energy plant is planned just across the Monocacy River from the 1,650-acre park - a project that has sparked criticism as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. One hundred fifty feet tall, with a 270-foot smokestack, the facility will loom over the trees that hide areas where Confederate cavalry forded the river to assault Union infantry.
"This will be visible from the visitors center and other key parts of the battlefield," said Susan W. Trail, superintendent of the historic park on the southern outskirts of Frederick. "It will, in my view, overwhelm part of our landscape." Click Here to Keep Reading.
Originally published April 23, 2011 in the Fredrick News-Post
The long debate in Frederick County over the proposed incinerator/"waste-to-energy" facility for burning waste has left this citizen unconvinced of its merits. Instead of a public process where citizen concerns were addressed adequately and the inevitable benefits of the system portrayed conclusively, we have a series of decisions that leave disappointment and powerlessness in their wake.
The extreme costs locked into the system will inevitably hurt citizens in Frederick County; we'll watch our waste bills increase over time while others profit running our systems. This inflexible, no-turning-back technology will condemn us to a solution not used in decades and which is rapidly becoming totally obsolete. The debt service on the bonds, and, make no mistake about it despite the claims of Blaine Young, all the costs of these operations and management that we'll contractually pay are a burden and long legacy for citizens. Click Here To Keep Reading.
There are as many new developments this week as there are toxins emitted by a waste incinerator's smoke stack.
* Paid lobbyists, industry representatives, and misguided county employees have once again been making the rounds trying to drum up support for a trash burning plant. This handy guide helps separate fact from fiction in the waste incineration debate. Click here to view/download.
* Robin Davidov, head of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, spoke to Waste Not! Carroll last month. Here is video of her presentation and the lively Q & A that followed. Click here to see the video.
* The folks from the Environmental Integrity Project spoke at Waste Not! Carroll's March meeting. They are involved in helping to ensure that existing and proposed incinerators meet current and future air quality standards. Despite what the pro-incinerator lobby claims, trash burning plants produce a lot of pollution and very little electricity. In fact when you compare an incinerator to a coal power plant - as the Environmental Integrity Project has done - you begin to see just how bad for the environment trash burning plants really are. (Thanks to Robbie Orvis from the Environmental Integrity Project for researching and compiling the data). Click here to see this shocking comparison.
* Composting is an important part of any reasonable approach to waste management. This community in PA is showing just how easy curbside compost pick-up is to implement in a small sized municipality. Click Here to Read More.
* One of Frederick County's Commissioners is trying to bully Carroll County into making a decision about whether or not they still want to help build a trash burning plant. Click here to get the full story.
Richard Haddad, former president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and now paid lobbyist, has weighed in (again) in favor of the proposed trash burning plant in a letter to the Carroll County Times. Mr. Haddad's letter is so riddled with factual inaccuracies that it can hardly be taken seriously, and yet in an era where lobbyists such as Haddad are granted unparalleled access to government, it is imperative that his attempts at misleading the public be rebutted. Our readers are encouraged to have a look at his letter and send their response to the Times. Click here to read his letter.
The fledgling business is based on the grocery industry's massive piles of fruits and vegetables that go bad before they can be sold and until now have been hauled to a landfill.
EcoScraps has inked deals with grocers and wholesalers to haul it away and use it as a key ingredient in organic compost and potting soil that it sells at independent nurseries. The company plans to add 88 Bashas' stores and is looking for others in addition to its existing wholesaler supply, said Brandon Sargent, EcoScrap's co-founder and vice president. It hasn't been too difficult to get grocers to sign on, Sargent said, because trash companies charge stores by the weight of what's hauled away. Click Here To Keep Reading.
To the sound of a loud salsa-style drumbeat, they hoisted colourful banners and placards bearing anti-incinerator slogans outside the city's Guildhall where MVV Umwelt's final public consultation exhibition was held on Saturday.
The demonstration then took to the streets of the city centre, first to the sundial and onto New George Street, along Old Town Street, and then back down Royal Parade and then back to the Guildhall.
To rousing cheers speakers highlighted the myriad of concerns residents and others had raised since the various bids to build incinerators in the region were put in last year. Click Here To Keep Reading.
As both the cost and the environmental impact of incineration has become more apparent, you would be hard pressed to find anybody these days who actually thinks that burning trash is a good idea. So what should we do with our trash? For a better understanding of what is at play in the debate over how to handle this county's solid waste (and an excellent summation of the facts in this debate), have a peak at this interview with Don West on Sykesville Online - click here to see it. Or Here.
...Oh, and what's the deal with camel? You'll just have to read the interview to find out!
Posted: Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Maryland State Highway Administration is donating scrap metal from signs to South Carroll High School so students can use them to build compost bins for cafeteria scraps.
The project was the idea of 17-year-old Emily Peterson, a senior at the school, who has been working since the beginning of the school year to start a compost program there.
Originally the school had planned to use wood to build the bins, which will be 12-by-12-by-6-feet, but a consultant from the Department of Natural Resources pointed out that the wood will deteriorate and that metal would be better. Purchasing metal for the project could have been cost restrictive, so the DNR contacted the SHA to ask for donated scrap metal.
SHA will be donating 58 large aluminum panels for the project, and the students will begin building the bins in February.
The school will use the compost from cafeteria waste for general landscaping, planting American chestnut trees and other environmentally-friendly projects around the campus.
Attorney General Martha Coakley is investigating Wheelabrator Saugus, the waste incinerator responsible for burning trash from 15 North Shore cities and towns, for alleged environmental violations including the discharge of hazardous chemicals into the air and water, according to several people who said they were interviewed by state officials.
The state investigation was spurred by two employees of the plant who filed a civil lawsuit against Wheelabrator Saugus Inc. and its parent company, Texas-based Waste Management Inc., more than a year ago in Essex Superior Court. The suit, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe, alleges that operators of the Saugus incinerator have knowingly violated environmental laws for years, endangered public health, and defrauded the communities that paid to send their garbage there for proper handling.
The employees filed suit under the Massachusetts False Claims Act, the law that protects whistle-blowers who report their employers for committing fraud against the government. In accordance with the law, it was filed on behalf of the 15 North Shore towns and cities that contract with Wheelabrator and was sealed by the court to keep it from public view while the state conducted its investigation.