Officials from Saugus and Revere gathered Monday night at the Revere City Council meeting to work together in supporting State Rep. RoseLee Vincent’s legislation to stop additional ash dumping at Wheelabrator Technologies on the marsh road in Saugus.
Vincent has filed legislation to stop Wheelabrator from receiving any more permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to expand its ash pile. She said the plant impacts the Point of Pines area, the Oak Island area and East Saugus.
The main concern in those areas is cancer and the role the plant may or may not make on cancer rates.
Currently, Wheelabrator, a trash to energy plant, has a dump area for ash that looks like five fingers known as ‘spurs’. Wheelabrator is requesting permission to fill in the areas between the fingers with more ash.
Vincent said that since 1996 there have been nine permit extensions. At this point there are no permit filings by Wheelabrator, but Vincent wants to take a proactive approach.
Debra Panetta, chair of the Saugus Board of Selectmen, said the plant is supposed to close Dec. 31, 2016. She said the ash is toxic and Saugus has a high cancer rate. The plant, she said, is also a critical environmental concern for the Rumney Marsh.
Jeff Cicolini, treasurer of the Point of Pines Yacht Club, said when there is a northerly wind a residue is left on the boats. With roots in East Saugus he said he has also lost family members to various forms of cancer.
“We are in the front end of climate change in Saugus and Revere,” said Saugus Town Meeting member Peter Manoogian. He added that Wheelabrator can walk away from the ash pit three years after it closes. He is also concerned a tidal surge may release ash.
“It’s time to stand up to this large conglomerate, “ said City Council President John Powers, whose wife died from cancer at the age of 63. “You can’t put a price on public health.”
“It’s coming directly over the marsh,” said Councillor Arthur Guinasso, who has had colon cancer and knows of 20 to 30 more in his neighborhood who had cancer.
“There has to be a connection between the environment,” said Councillor Jessica Giannino.
Vincent said she filed the legislation this session and it is now before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.