Veterans of the years-long battle against a trash-to-energy plant in South Baltimore are angry about a campaign ad for Edward Reisinger in which the 10th District councilman says he helped oppose the incinerator – and win the fight.
“I was appalled that he would take the credit for it,” said Rodette Jones of Curtis Bay. “He had nothing to do with it. He was not with our fight. He was not involved.”
Jones got involved in the issue a couple of years ago through the youth-led group Free Your Voice which has been organizing opposition to the Fairfield Renewable Energy Project for the last four years.
Last month, after marches, speeches, neighborhood canvassing, petition-gathering and a protest that landed six group members in jail for a night, state officials declared the 2010 permit for the project expired.
In the 2:33 minute video, Reisinger appears to claim some role in the victory.
“He was instrumental in bringing people together to stop illegal dumping and a cancer-causing incinerator in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn Park – and we won!” the narrator in the ad says.
“I can’t believe he would lie like that,” said another Free Your Voice member, Charles Graham, 20, one of the people arrested. (The charges later were dropped.)
Jones and Graham said the group invited Reisinger to multiple events and he never responded or attended.
At a February meeting of Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn, they said, Reisinger did discuss the issue – only to chastise the group that helped to start Free Your Voice, United Workers, for “using” children to spread its message.
“I May Not Have Been Holding a Sign. . .”
Asked today what his role was in the incinerator opposition, Reisnger told The Brew that he was approached in 2009 by Patrick Mahoney, CEO of the company trying to do the project, Albany-based Energy Answers.
“I told him he had to talk to the community. Talk to the three associations that were around at the time,” Reisinger said.
He said the groups negotiated an agreement with Mahoney and the company “was supposed to meet the standards and comply with the MDE (Maryland Department of the Environment) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and that’s where it ended.”
What did Reisinger do to oppose a project that critics said would generate harmful pollution?
“I may not have been out there holding a sign, but I didn’t do anything to support it,” he said. “I didn’t sign anything saying I’d support it. I didn’t go to community meetings and support it.”
What about the contention that he complained about the young activists?
Reisinger acknowledged that he did.
“At the Ben Franklin School it was some environmental group, some entity was using – they had some of the children going door-to-door and I thought that was wrong,” he said. “I didn’t approve of the strategy.”
The Free Your Voice group says Reisinger should pull the ad.
Reisinger’s response: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.”