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Miami’s Community News: Will the County Set $200 Million on Fire?

Miami-Dade County needs a new place to turn garbage into ash and it may be looking to place it in your backyard.

Back on the afternoon of February 12, 2023, a fire broke out at the Miami-Dade County Resources Recovery Facility in Doral. The fire burned for almost three weeks and was finally placed under control on March 2, 2023.

It was the County’s garbage incinerator and was among the 10 largest trash incinerators in the U.S. The plant was operated under a contract with Covanta, the nation’s largest trash incineration corporation.

As you might guess, an incinerator is a dirty business. The EPA’s National Emissions Inventory of 125 industrial air polluters in the Miami-Dade County, rated the Doral plant among the top 5 alongside Miami International Airport, the Titan and Cemex cement kilns, and the FPL gas-fired electrical power plant.

Now the question is where is Miami-Dade County going to burn its garbage.

The County needs to decide quickly or a pile of cash could go up in smoke. Up to $200 million in insurance money must be claimed by February 12, 2025. Plus, federal tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act could fund about a third of the project’s cost, but the County must put in a claim with the White House by January 1, 2025, or lose those funds.

Doral doesn’t want the incinerator. Four decades ago, there was no Doral. There was a country club that bore that name, but no city. Today, the city leaders are adamant that they want the incinerator and the ash dump next door to be gone.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has endorsed a proposal to build a new incinerator on the site of the closed Opa-locka West Airport. The land is already owned by the County and it doesn’t have many Miami-Dade neighbors. The County could fast-track the building of the new site and have it up and running in five years, about half the time expected if it had to go out and bargain with a landowner or get the property through eminent domain.

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