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Miami-Dade commission to consider sites for new incinerator

Miami-Dade commission to consider sites for new incinerator
Miami-Dade commission to consider sites for new incinerator 02:05

MIAMI -  The Miami-Dade commission voted Tuesday to consider three sites for a new incinerator.

The vote came during a special meeting. 

Commissioners will consider sites in Opa-locka West Airport, Doral and Medley.

They said they will be doing air quality and environmental tests, which should take 4-6 months. Then, they will come back and discuss which option to choose. 

When the commission decides to move ahead with construction in whichever site they choose, it could be years before the new waste management site is built. In the meantime, the county's trash will continue to go to landfills.  
In February, the county's waste-to-energy facility in Doral caught fire and burned for days. It was later shut down. Originally, the plan was to build a new facility next to it, but that was scrapped after the fire.

Doral residents showed up at today's commission meeting, plead their case not to build a new plant in Doral. "No one wants an incinerator in their back yard or community," said one resident.

Commissioner Juan Carlos Bermudez supports building a new incinerator away from Doral.

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam voices opposition for Miami-Dade's preferred site for new incinerator 06:55

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam is opposed to building a new incinerator on the city's western border. He said it's less than a mile from homes in his city.

"This location is close to where hundreds of Miramar families reside. I question the data that led to the selection of the Opa-locka West Airport. It lacks critical information on its potential impact on our residents' health, the Everglades' clean surface water, and necessary site studies like wind flow patterns," he said in a statement.

According to the statement, the Doral incinerator was known to have emitted pollutants associated with severe health risks such as cancer, respiratory problems, and reproductive health risks.

He went a step further while speaking in front of Miami-Dade Commissioners. "Miramar is prepared to take objection to every permit process at every level pleading our case to regulators. This potentially will delay your permitting process and put in jeopardy your ability to meet funding deadlines," he said.

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives notes that burning trash impacts efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to air and water pollution. Many cities globally have begun adopting zero-waste policies as a more sustainable alternative.

"As the Mayor of Miramar, with the support of the City Commission, we are actively engaging with Miami-Dade County officials to reverse this decision. There are other feasible locations for such a facility. If the newer technologies indeed make these facilities safer, then why not consider areas like Coral Gables, Aventura, or Miami Beach? Our commitment to Miramar's safety and well-being remains paramount," said Messam.

Broward is also considering building a new trash incinerator. It would be about five miles away at the county's landfill, which is also on US 27.

"Both Broward and Dade have grown exponentially and we're going to have to deal with this issue," said Bermudez.  

Both Miami-Dade and Broward recognize more recycling needs to be part of the long-term trash solution.

Broward says if residents could increase the current recycling rate of 31% to 75% there wouldn't be a need to build another incinerator.

Landfill space is getting scarce and some experts believe the methane gas generated at landfills accelerates global warming.  

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said it's critical the county find ways to deal with trash soon. "We do have the capacity to continue to get our waste, put it so where we can continue with development.  Because the State requires that we have 5-year capacity or you have to stop development," she warned. 

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