- Maine's controversial Fiberight waste-to-energy (WTE) biogas facility has received all necessary approvals to move forward, but three towns still can't decide whether to sign on to the project, according to the Bangor Daily News.
- On Wednesday, the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation — which represents the towns — voted 4-2 to put a referendum question on the November ballot asking residents to authorize a contract with the Portland waste-to-energy company ecomaine for three to five years. Residents of Lincolnville support going with ecomaine, while those from Camden, Rockport and Hope have previously voted against it.
- The deadline to become founding members in the Fiberight project has been extended yet again to Aug. 31. Special town meetings would have to be held to meet that deadline and the solid waste corporation declined to schedule them.
These four towns generate a collective 6,800 tons per year and in Maine's ongoing WTE battle each ton has become a highly valuable commodity. Even after it reduced the target annual tonnage to 110,000 from 150,000, Fiberight still hasn't met that goal. The most recent estimates put its contracted amount around 107,000 tons which the company says is enough to move forward with the $69 million project.
The debate about whether towns should support this new technology has taken to the airwaves and erupted again at the solid waste corporation's meeting. When he realized that the board was going to vote against the wishes of his town's residents, Rockport Select Board Chair William Chapman stormed out of the room.
"We're not a democracy. This is a communist organization now. We don't trust the people. We're going to tell them what to do," he said loudly, as reported by the Bangor Daily News. "You don't want the people to speak. Fine, go that way."
Within these discussions, the region's current WTE provider — Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC) — wasn't discussed as an option. Once PERC's contract with 187 municipalities expires in 2018 its prices are widely expected to go up. Despite this setback the company has vowed to stay open and is looking to commercial waste as the way to do it.