Thursday, November 3, 2011

Incinerator burns through more than Harrisburg's waste

The waste incinerator in Pennsylvania's capitol has burned through more than just garbage over the past four decades. It´s also burned through money, the patience of residents and now the city´s solvency.

Earlier this month, Harrisburg became the first state capital in memory -- perhaps in history -- to declare bankruptcy, thanks to the $310 million debt that hangs over the Harrisburg Resource Recovery Facility.

The incinerator has been a money pit in Harrisburg since it was built in 1972, with the biggest chunk of investment coming when the city spent $125 million to rebuild the facility in 2003.

Finally, on Oct. 12, with $65 million of its debt due, the City Council voted to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy instead of adopting a recovery plan developed by the state and Mayor Linda Thompson.

The decision has touched off a legal battle. The mayor refused to sign the declaration, calling it illegal, and a week later, the state enacted a takeover of the city´s finances. Gov. Tom Corbett is now able to declare a state of fiscal emergency and take money management responsibilities from the city. Under the law, the governor also can appoint a receiver to lead the fiscal recovery.

For the full story, see: WTE plant helps to bankrupt Harrisburg, Pa.
Photo credit: Jessica Kourkounis for the New York Times

Like this post? You'll love our daily newsletter, EnviroPolitics
Try it free for 30 days!  No obligation. Cancel anytime with one click

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article