By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council this past week signed off on plans for a new trash-to-energy plant, despite concerns by some environmental groups that it could do more harm than good.

Prior to the Council vote, Brady Russell of the group Clean Water Action urged the lawmakers to delay a decision. He said his group doubts the benefits of the trash-to-energy concept.

“It does cost less to incinerate than it does to put it in a landfill. But, in terms of global warming, it does more harm on balance.”

But Council ended up approving the contract with the firm “Waste Management of Pennsylvania” to a facility in Northeast Philadelphia to process trash in a way that creates pellets, which can be used as fuel. Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson said it helps the bottom line.

“The city’s going to save in fact almost $70 million over the term of this contract.”

Construction on the pellet processing plant is to begin later this year.

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