March 21, 2023 – Lawmakers, environmental organizations, and residents celebrate the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s continued refusal to allow further expansions of an incinerator ash landfill in Saugus, Massachusetts. On March 14, 2023, the Department sent a letter to State Representatives Jeff Turco and Jessica Giannino announcing that Governor Maura Healey’s administration would stand by the Department’s previous conclusion that the WIN Waste Innovations ash landfill cannot be expanded because it is located in an area of critical environmental concern.
“Governor Healey’s decision to uphold the Department’s verdict on the Saugus ash landfill is a huge win for Environmental Justice,” said Representative Giannino. “Residents from Saugus and the City of Revere, as well as local legislators and environmental advocates, have been pushing for decades for this facility to close. Now, we are one step closer to doing just that.”
“The Saugus Ash Landfill should have been closed ages ago,” added Representative Turco. “The impacts this facility has had on public health and the environment are unjustifiable. We are hopeful that the Healey administration’s stance will help us shut this landfill down for good – and soon.”
Members of the Alliance for Health and Environment are optimistic that the Department’s latest decision means the landfill will close in the next year or two. “It is not surprising that the Healey Administration confirmed that this landfill will not be allowed to expand. It is a massive, polluting landfill that was supposed to close in 1996,” said Kirstie Pecci, Executive Director of Just Zero.
“This landfill has poisoned nearby residents and destroyed the local environment for decades, said Cindy Luppi, New England Director of Clean Water Action. “We’re grateful that the Department has once again made clear that no further expansions will be allowed.”
Saugus residents also expressed gratitude that the Department was standing firm in the ongoing battle against a dangerous source of pollution in their community. “Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment appreciates that the Department continues to uphold and re-assert its stance that it will not issue a permit to expand the ash landfill,” said Stephanie Shalkoski, SAVE Co-President. “We are encouraged by the Healey Administration’s focus on environmental justice, and look forward to beginning community conversations around landfill closure plans.”
“After decades of watching my family courageously fight for their health and community, I’m elated to see the Department finally protecting people and the environment,” said Jackie Mercurio, a Saugus resident. “It has been long overdue for the State to stand on the side of environmental protection and public health over this landfill.”
Just Zero, the Alliance for Health and Environment, and advocates and residents in and near Saugus look forward to continuing to work with the Department to ensure that the ash landfill closes within the next two years.