We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Did you know that much of the city’s trash is trucked to Fairfax County, where it is incinerated and turned into electricity? According to the Department of Public Works and the “waste-to-energy” industry, it’s a “win-win” scenario; the trash disappears and the country reduces its dependence on foreign oil. What could be more patriotic, especially since officials say filters on the smokestacks keep nasty pollutants from escaping into the air around the Lorton plant.

Well, in a report released today, environmentalists take aim at those claims. Clean Water Action, the Toxics Action Center and six other groups from around the country are seeking to debunk the growing buzz around waste-to-energy plants as sources of clean “alternative” fuel. Their conclusion: an incinerator is an incinerator is an incinerator. 

“The core impacts of all types of incinerators remain the same: They are toxic to public health, harmful to the economy, environment and climate, and undermine recycling and waste reduction programs,” according to the report, “An Industry Blowing Smoke.”