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New Trash-To-Electricity Plant Likely To Be State - Not Local - Responsibility

A proposed power plant on the western edge of Mecklenburg County would be one of only two facilities in the entire state permitted as municipal solid waste incinerators. Developers of ReVenture Park hope to turn the region's household trash into electricity and insist their technology will be much cleaner than a traditional incinerator. But the plant will still be classified as an incinerator in its permit - and as a result, will fall under the state's jurisdiction. Mecklenburg County air quality regulators learned this week they will likely have little control over the plant's emissions. That worries critics, including the Central Piedmont Sierra Club, who say local authorities should have the final say on air quality Mecklenburg County Air Quality Director Don Willard says ReVenture will be held to the same standards, regardless of which agency monitors the permit. But the details of the ReVenture project are still evolving - including how the trash will be processed and converted to electricity. All six municipalities in Mecklenburg County - including Charlotte - have already agreed to send their waste to the proposed plant. The Sierra Club argues that local officials are being too quick to support the project without complete details. ReVenture Developer Tom McKittrick says the changes are minor and mostly a result of public feedback. "I have a saying that time kills all deals," adds McKittrick. "We don't have the luxury of time. I like the pressure so that decisions can be made and the project can move forward. It has been thoroughly vetted." McKittrick is trying to have at least part of the ReVenture project operating by next summer when Mecklenburg County's current landfill contract expires.