BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Students and residents are speaking out against a new trash-burning power plant going up in the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn neighborhoods. They’re worried about potential pollution from the plant, but company officials say the plant will do more to help the environment.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the controversy.

That plant will convert waste into energy but some are worried about what that could mean for the community.

From Sky Eye Chopper 13, you can see dozens of protesters outside what will be a new waste-to-energy plant in Curtis Bay.

“We don’t want this project to happen,” said one protester.

The Fairfield Renewable Energy Plant is being built about a mile from Benjamin Franklin High School. Some are worried about the environmental impact.

“The fact that they’re planning to build the nation’s largest incinerator in my community really terrifies me,” said Destiny Watford.

Just last year, a study found the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn neighborhoods to have the highest toxic air pollution in the state of Maryland.

“It does scare us a lot,” said Donovan Vernon. “We got to breathe it in.”

But Energy Answers–the company building the plant–says it will meet or exceed air quality requirements. CEO Patrick Mahoney tells WJZ the plant is more of a cure to environmental problems.

“It’s a resource recovery facility,” he said. “We are taking waste, processing the waste into a lightweight fuel and generating energy and recovering materials.”

The company says the new facility will increase regional recycling rates, reduce landfilling and greenhouse gas emissions and create more than 180 permanent “green collar” jobs.

“We intend to be a big positive factor in the community and that’s part of why we have support from the Curtis Bay community organizations,” he said.

Mahoney says company officials are willing to meet with groups concerned about the project.

Both the mayor and governor have voiced support for the plant.

Construction on the $1 billion plant began this summer. It’s expected to take three years to build.

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