A member of a two-woman fact-finding delegation from Grand County, Utah, said the 200 people who oppose locating a hazardous-waste incinerator there don't have facts to back up their claims.
Georgia Hamblin and Janie Walker, both of Moab, toured Ensco Inc. hazardous-waste incineration facilities Monday and Tuesday as representatives of their County Commission.The two are conducting a nationwide investigation of hazardous-waste-burning facilities. Grand County, which has a population between 4,500 and 5,000, is considering a proposal for construction of a hazardous-waste incinerator near Moab.
"We have looked at five incinerators now and we will look at two more," Hamblin said. "We are not pro or con about hazardous-waste incinerators. We are simply a fact-finding, ad-hoc committee of two."
They said they have looked in their visits for clues about possible health hazards and the economic impact of such facilities on communities. The women have also seen incinerator facilities at Roebuck and Rock Hill, S.C.; and Clay and Calvert City, Ky. From El Dorado, they were to go to Coffeyville, Kan., and Aurora, Mo.
Walker said 300 people showed up at a public hearing on the Grand County project.
"We have probably 200 people in opposition who are without facts and no substantiation for their claims," Hamblin said. In other communities, she said, "without exception, we found a nucleus of between one and five people in each city who oppose the incinerators but who have never accepted an invitation to tour the facilities."
The two said incinerator opponents have spread anti-incinerator literature through the county, most of it generated by the international environmental group, Greenpeace.
Walker said they were particularly interested in Ensco's facilities because the surrounding community has been studied for health effects of the incinerator, and the Ensco incinerator is monitored 24 hours a day by state inspectors, as no other such plant is.
All the facilities they toured claim to exceed federal and state requirements, the two said.
"We are finding that safety standards are pretty much the same for all hazardous-waste incinerators," Hamblin said.
"We've had a lot of people feeding us garbage (bout hazardous-waste incinerators)," Hamblin said Tuesday. "We've had to deal with a lot of Greenpeace scare tactics."
Hamblin is a real estate broker and appraiser; Walker owns and operates a 50-acre fruit farm. She is a member of the board of the Utah Soil Conservation Commission and is a member of the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission. Hamblin is chairwoman of the Southeast Utah Health District board and a member of the Grand County Board of Adjustments.