DEADLY INCINERATOR!greenspun.com : LUSENET : 1998 Guam Elections : One Thread
***THE DEADLY INCINERATOR: AN INTRODUCTION***
I've been waiting for almost two months for someone, anyone to answer my question of why the governor's incinerator proposal is good for the island. The people of Guam have been waiting for more than *two years* for an answer to this question. The silence from Karl Gutierrez, the incinerator companies, and incinerator advocates like Peter Sgro is deafening.
Maybe if the public had some real information, the incinerator advocates would finally come out and try to cover it up again. For those of you who think this is a dead issue, think again. King Karl has been quiet about the incinerator because he knows it would hurt him in the election. But once he's inaugurated for his second term, he'll continue to push for the deadly project. You don't think he and his friends have wasted four years and millions of dollars in pushing this project for nothing, do you?
I'm going to make some points in this introduction, and for those of you who are interested in the details, I'll follow up with individual articles on the main points. Sources will be provided.
1) Incineration is deadly. King Karl is telling us to give him $100 million to build a machine that will take reusable materials -- glass, metal, paper and plastics -- and turn them into air pollution, including dioxin, one of the most deadly substances known, and a toxic ash that must be landfilled. Incinerators turn waste into poisonous waste -- toxic ash full of lead, cadmium, mercury and other deadly heavy metals. Dioxin is known to cause attention deficit disorder, cancer, birth defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, severe nervous disorders, reproductive system abnormalities, endometriosis and diabetes. There is no "safe" dose; our bodies have no defenses against it. (Toxic Alert, CQS.com,1997)
2) Communities across the U.S regret building an incinerator. A notable example is with the incinerator in North Andover, Mass., where 23 towns are trying to find a way out of their expensive production-quota contract (similar to Guam's) with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., the same company we've contracted to build our incinerator. The incinerator is not only expensive, but it is a significant source of pollution, including high emissions of mercury and dioxin.
3) Incineration is expensive. Proponents say the tipping fee will be $45, but a provision in the incinerator contract says that the fee will be $167.09, not including hidden costs such as building another landfill, disposal of the hazardous toxic ash, roads, power, changes to the incinerator because of pending federal environmental regulations. Since we guarantee the incinerator 93,075 tons of trash a year (and if we don't deliver that much trash, we still pay for 93,075 tons), then our minimum cost a year will be $15.5 million, not including all the other hidden costs.
4) Despite all the problems, Karl refused to put the contract and proposal under public scrutiny. According to the PDN, Karl wouldn't release the contract to the public or the media until after it was signed. GEDA board members, who signed the contract, testified before the Legislature that none of them had read the 200-page contract. They signed it under the advisement of their attorney Andy Gayle, a former board member of GMP and a person whose daughters worked for GMP, one of the incinerator partners. While the contract had been negotiated for years, there were major changes made to the contract when Karl took over as governor that favored the incinerator companies incredibly.
5) Exactly who are we doing business with? There are two major partners in the incinerator project -- GMP & Associates and Wheelabrator Technologies. GMP is owned by a friend of Karl's (Wagdy Gurgius), is a company Karl used to be a board member of, and is a major donator to Karl's kampaign, including a $25,000 donation to the DNC when Karl was on a fund-raising drive in 1996. GMP has also gotten into trouble with several illegal campaign contributions in Hawaii. Wheelabrator is the leading builder of incinerators in the U.S., but over the past few years the demand for incinerators has dried up due to strong public opposition. As a result, Wheelabrator is seeking new markets in China and the Pacific Rim (including Guam), where people aren't as educated about incinerators. Wheelabrator is owned by WMX, the largest landfill company in the U.S. WMX is a known corporate criminal, the subject of government criminal investigations and anti-trust lawsuits in at least 17 states and has paid out $28 million in fines or settlements for crimes that included bid rigging, price fixing and price gouging. This is who we want to deal with?
6) There have been massive public relations efforts to cover up problems with incineration. The incineration industry has had to battle massive public opposition, covering up problems by renaming itself "resource recovery" and "waste to energy" in the early 1980s even though it destroys resources instead of recovering them, and wastes far more energy than it saves. Listen to Karl as he takes no action on incinerator bill 495: " 'Incinerator' is not the same as 'waste-to-energy facility' or resource recovery.' ... which are licensed, inspected facilities where certain materials are burned safely and which has mechanisms to keep contaminants out of our air, land and water." Now listen to Peter Sgro Jr.: "Environmental laws, rules and regulations clearly distinguish the difference between an 'incinerator' and a waste to energy facility'." Note to both Karl and Pete: a waste-to-energy facility is just an incinerator with a power converter slapped on so we won't recognize it as the deadly machine that it is.
7) Karl and the Kalvos are planning to reap the benefits from the incinerator while we suffer. Karl has already been getting hefty donations from GMP and Wagdy Gurgius, including many donations we don't know about. GMP's $25,000 donation to the DNC in 1996 paid off for Karl with a political endorsement from Clinton this year. GMP employs Karl's son, Tommy. The Kalvos have become investors in the incineration company. The Kalvos' law firm also represents the incineration company and gets lots of money from this. And ask KUAM reporters whether they can do stories on the incinerator. Nope.
8) Incineration is a disincentive for recycling, which would be a better space saver. Again, our contract with the incinerator companies guarantees 93,075 tons a year to the incinerator. What incentive would residents have to recycle when they'd have to pay the hungry incinerator whether they recycle or not? To quote from Waste Age magazine, July 1997, in an article about the North Andover, Mass. incinerator run by Wheelabrator: "Recycling rates have been directly hurt by the need to feed the ever-hungry belly of the production-quota incinerator contract. ... Simply put, the contract is a disincentive to recylce. Some towns even are considering cutting back on recycling altogether, to help offset the costs of the incinerator, said Eric Weltman of the Toxics Action Center."
9) The $8 million cost of buying out Guam's incinerator contract was obligated by Karl, but it's more than made up for in the savings. If we cancel the incinerator contract, Karl says we're wasting $8 million that we'll have to pay his incinerator companies for defaulting on the contract. But who obligated us to the contract? Karl. Who is he trying to blame? The Legislature, which has disapproved the deadly contract. But $8 million is a lot less compared to the more than $100 million we'll pay over the years for the contract, and the health and lives of the public we'll pay for having an incinerator on Guam.
To conclude, I'm issuing another challenge: I dare an advocate of the incinerator, such as Peter Sgro Jr. or Karl Gutierrez, to refute my nine deadly incinerator points. Karl and his supporters have failed to refute my points about the Kalvo media kontrol and about Karl's flaws as governor. Let's see if they have anything to say about the incinerator -- they've been awfully quiet about the issue in the past kampaign.
-- Lighthouse Keeper (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 1998
***THE DEADLY INCINERATOR: A HEALTH AND LIFE HAZARD***
This is the second part in my series on the deadly incinerator, which I hope will stir up public discussion about this project. King Karl plans to push this incinerator once his second term starts.
But incinerators are deadly.
Pollution from incinerators ends up in humans. Quoting from Dr. Robert Richmond, professor of Marine Biology at UOG:
"Depending on the filtering or scrubber systems employed, various particulates are released into the air, where they can drift for large distances before being deposited on agricultural areas, populated areas, rivers and the coastal zone. If heavy metals are included in the particulates, they may be taken up by plants, fish and other organisms. People who eat these end up ingesting the metals as well."
And heavy metals are definitely produced by incinerators. According to Toxic Alert (found on the web at www.cqs.com), recent data regarding polutants of an incinerator in North Andover, Mass. (run by Wheelabrator Technologies) shows alarming pollution rates. To quote from Toxic Alert:
"The incinerator, even when working "perfectly," is poisoning the towns with mercury, lead, and deadly dioxin -- the name given to the chlorinated dioxins and furans, the most toxic organic chemicals known -- as well as a host of other toxic pollutants."
Even the incinerator's own management admits that it is the leading mercury emitter in Massachussets (see Waste Age magazine, July 1997, Pg. 20). Dioxins are even deadlier than mercury. Toxic Alert said that the North Andover incinerator (again, run by Wheelabrator, which is the company that plans to build and run the incinerator for Guam) had more than 1,300 grams of dioxin each year, according to a 1995 report put out by the incinerator company. That's TEN TIMES the limit allowed by EPA regulations, but the incinerator is not shut down because the new emissions regulations do not have the force of law until several years after they are issues, and the Mass. environmental department has been delaying issuing new statewide regulations.
How deadly are dioxins? Quoting again from Toxic Alert:
"It is known to cause Attention Deficit Disorder, cancer, birth defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, severe nervous disorders, reproductive system abnormalities, endometriosis, and diabetes. By disrupting hormone receptor sites, dioxin can literally change the functioning and reproduction of our cells. There is no "safe" dose; our bodies have no defenses against it."
Is it just Toxic Alert and Dr. Richmond that oppose incinerators? No. Try the Lung Association, which opposed an incinerator project in Toronto and wrote in Oct. 21, 1996: "Our position is based upon strong scientific evidence linking emissions from incinerators to adverse respiratory health effects."
The Lung Association cited scientific studies of harmful organics, heavy metals and gases released by incinerators. Then it talked about particulates:
"The greatest difficulty incineration facilities face is meeting standards for particulate emissions. Organic and inorganic material escape into the air either directly in gaseous form or by adhering to small particles. A state of the art baghouse collection system may remove 99.4% of those emissions from a 3,000 ton/day incinerator, for example, and let about 160 tons escape each year. ... Recent research has highlighted risks associated with fine particles that enter air from combustion processes or resuspension of dust, and on the impact of such irritants on children with respiratory diseases. One study has shown that pre-school age children can have very strong adverse reactions to fine particulate pollution. In the community studies, admission of preschool-age children to hospitals for bronchitis and asthma were twice as high when a major source of fine particulates was operating than when it was not."
Then the Lung Association wrote about incinerator ash:
"The management and disposal of waste ash and quench water is the subject of considerable controversy. The combination of unclear disposal regulations and confusion over the hazardous nature of ash has lead to the potential mismanagement of ash and quench water residues."
In Britain, an incinerator in Exeter was opposed by Exeter Friends of the Earth. They wrote about pollution from incinerators:
"Incineration does not make waste disappear. On the contrary, incinerators create waste that is poisonous, and poses significant threats to public health and the environment through emissions to the air, and through the waste ash posing pollution threats in landfill sites. No methods have been developed for continuous identification of all the potentially dangerous gases and particulates in incinerator stacks. Furthermore, current indicators of incinerator performance have not been shown to be reliable. Even under the strictest of standards "state of the art" incinerators emit chemicals that have escaped combustion as well as newly formed products of incomplete combustion -- thousands of different chemicals of which only a small fraction have been identified."
The build up of toxins associated with incinerators could take place not just in individuals lifetimes, but across generations. In 1990 the Munich Region of the German Medical Association stated that:
"According to the German Health Agency, milk from nursing women is twenty times more contaminated with dioxin than cow's milk. The multitude of contaminants a woman has accumulated in her body over a time span of two or three decades reappears during nursing and is transferred to the baby."
We must learn from the errors of others. Ralph Nader spoke to the Green Gathering Rally Against Incineration in the Merrimack Valley on Aug. 29, 1997:
"Along with the mercury, dioxin, and particulates, the incinerators which pollute the Merrimack Valley provide us with a tragic lesson about the poisonous mixture of corporate greed and goverment misdeed. ... "the bugeoning movement for environmental justice is testament to another reality -- that the public is wide awake to the profitable poisons to which they are exposed."
Incinerators are deadly. What reason do we have to bring this unimaginable problem into Guam?
-- Lighthouse (email@example.com), November 09, 1998.
Why would anyone want to argue with you Lighthouse?
All you care about is facts and truth.
-- Dakta Ziegfried (OU812@ziegfried.edu), November 09, 1998.
***THE DEADLY INCINERATOR: CITIZENS GIVE THUMBS DOWN***
This is the third article in my series on the deadly incinerator project pushed by King Karl and his buddies. I outline the decline of incineration in the United States and now around the world.
In short, everyone else is saying incineration is bad. So now incinerator companies are trying to push it on us. Are we going to stand for that?
The incineration industry sprung up across the U.S. in the 1980s. In 1980, the U.S. was burning only 1.8% of its solid waste but by 1990 that number had grown 8-fold to 15.2%. (T. Randall Curlee and others, WASTE-TO-ENERGY IN THE UNITED STATES, Pg. 4)
But grass-roots anti-incinerator activism stalled the industry by 1990. In 1990, 140 incinerators were operating in the U.S. but between 1982 and 1990, 248 incinerator projects were canceled. (Curlee, pgs. 4, 215)
According to Rachel's Environmental and Health Weekly (#592, April 2, 1998), a series of reports from around the world have cast even more doubt on the safety of solid waste incineration, further dimming the industry's prospects in the United States. Read on:
People who live within 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) of a municipal solid waste incinerator have an increased likelihood of getting several different cancers, according to a 1996 study of 14 million people living near 72 incinerators in Britain. (P. Elliott and others, "Cancer incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators in Great Britain," BRITISH JOURNAL OF CANCER Vol. 73,1996)
The British study was conducted in two stages. In stage 1, 20 incinerators were selected randomly for study. Some 3.3 million people lived within 7.5 km of these incinerators and their cancer history was examined. Statistically significant increases were found for all cancers combined; stomach cancer; cancers of the colon and rectum; liver cancer; cancer of the larynx; lung cancer; bladder cancer; and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Among people living 3 kilometers (2 miles) of an incinerator, cancers of the lymph system and leukemias were significantly elevated, but cancers of the larynx were not.
The second stage of the study examined the cancer history of 11.4 million people living within 7.5 km of any of 52 incinerators. Among these people, there were statistically significant increases in all cancers; stomach cancer; cancer of the colon and rectum; liver cancer; lung cancer; and bladder cancer. This is the first study to examine the cancer hazards of municipal solid waste incinerators among the general population.
According to Paul Connett, chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., three French solid waste incinerators were closed in January of this year because milk from cows on nearby dairy farms was found contaminated with excessive levels of dioxins. Dioxins are a toxic family of unwanted byproducts of incineration. ("France: Dioxin contamination from trash incinerators," WASTE NOT #423, March 1998. E-mail: wastenot@northnet,org.)
According to the Guardian (London) September 16, 1997, dioxin was found late last summer in French cheeses and butter at levels exceeding safety standards set by the Council of Europe. And March 11, 1998, a private organization in France, the National Center for Independent Information on Waste (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), revealed that a municipal incinerator near Maubeuge in northern France, has contaminated cows' milk at levels of 22 parts per trillion (ppt) in milk fat.
Staff members at the National Center say they believe this is the highest dioxin level ever measured in milk in France and they are calling for a moratorium on the construction of new incinerators. France has announced plans to build 100 new solid waste incinerators by the year 2002. (WASTE NOT #423)
The NEW YORK TIMES reported April 27, 1997 (pg. 10) that dioxins from trash incinerators have become an important public issue in Japan, which has 1850 operating incinerators.
The TIMES says that, in neighborhoods downwind from incinerators, independent scientists have reported infant deaths 40% to 70% higher than average. These claims have not been verified.
Even the U.S. Navy is complaining publicly that the U.S. base at Atsugi is being dangerously contaminated by a nearby garbage incinerator. More than 6600 Americans live within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of the incinerator. Rear Admiral Michael Haskins, the Navy's top commander in Japan, recently wrote Japanese officials saying, "People who reside or work at... Atsugi are breathing the poorest and the worst dioxin-polluted air in Japan" and "suffer damage to their health every day." Admiral Haskins told the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE "The incinerator is my number one priority in Japan." (Japan: Massive unrest over dioxin contamination from trash incinerators," WASTE NOT #424, March 1998; And: "Japan --Part 2 of 2," WASTE NOT #425, March 1998.)
Japan burns 76% of its municipal solid waste. During the 1980s, proponents of incineration in the U.S. often pointed to Japanese incinerators as clean and safe. For example, in 1987, Allen Herskowitz wrote, "Japanese [incineration] workers spend 6 to 18 months learning how toxic chemicals are stabilized in the furnace and captured in the stack, and they must have an engineering degree and undergo on-site training.... Americans have much to learn from their overseas counterparts about handling solid waste without undue risk to human health." (Allen Herskowitz, "Burning Trash: How It Could Work," TECHNOLOGY REVIEW, July 1987, pgs. 26-34.)
At the time Herskowitz worked for Inform, Inc., a mainstream environmental organization that took the position that incineration could be made tolerably safe. This viewpoint did not prevail. Instead, the grass-roots environmental movement engaged in hand-to- hand combat with hundreds of proposed incinerators, killing 248 of them, thus crippling the U.S. incineration industry.
-- Lighthouse (email@example.com), November 10, 1998.
***THE DEADLY INCINERATOR: A FINANCIAL DISASTER***
This is the fourth article in my series on the deadly incinerator project pushed by King Karl and his buddies. I demonstrate how Guam's incinerator contract not only obligates us to at least $15.5 million a year, but will actually cost much more than that.
The incinerator contract that King Karl has obligated us to guarantees that we will deliver 93,075 tons of trash a year to the incinerator -- and if we don't deliver that many tons a year, we still pay for that much no matter how much we recycle. The contract also says that the service fee will be a minimum of $167.09 per ton, bringing the yearly cost to $15,551,901.
But wait, there's more. That's just the minimum cost for burning our resources. Add to this a slew of "pass-through costs" that the government of Guam would have to pay for, including the cost of removal, transportation and disposal of all hazardous and unacceptable waste. The INCINERATOR ASH ITSELF is extremely hazardous waste, which couldn't just be dumped in the landfill and would be very expensive to dispose of off-island.
Other pass-through costs we'd have to pay for on top of the $15.5 million a year: water, fuel oil, electricity, emission control reagents, fuel, annual air emission testing, workman's compensation, insurance, all taxes, ash testing, discharge water testing, and cost of living adjustments.
But Guam isn't alone in signing an incinerator contract that charges an arm and a leg. Communities across the nation have found out that incinerators are financial disaster for local government. In a front-page story on Aug. 11, 1993, the Wall Street Journal warned that incinerators are fabulously expensive compared to other ways of handling trash, and that the financial picture for incineration will probably get worse in the future.
To quote the Wall Street Journal article:
"To varying degrees environmental officials at the state and federal level encouraged an incinerator building binge during the 1980s, with 142 plants now burning about 30 million tons a year, or 16% of the nation's trash.
"But the officials paid little mind to the economics of burning trash. Very simply, the current economics are terrible, requiring residential and commercial customers--as well as taxpayers--to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year over and above the going market rate for trash disposal. The average incinerator disposal fee is $56 per ton, twice the $28 average at dumps, reports SOLID WASTE PRICE DIGEST, a trade journal."
Cities and counties were stampeded into thinking the nation was running out of landfill space in the early 1980s and that incineration was the only alternative. Incinerator companies like Wheelabrator Technologies insisted on production-quota contracts, requiring a government to provide the incinerator a fixed amount of trash each year or pay a cash penalty.
The garbage crisis was manufactured. The Journal says:
"The garbage crisis, though it appealed perfectly to the nation's collective guilt over throwing away so much stuff, was more fiction than fact. (Landfill companies have) created huge amounts of disposal capacity in recent years" and this has created a "space glut" which has led to "fierce price-cutting as dump and incinerator owners compete for refuse."
The big garbage companies continue to use the "mythical" garbage crisis as a marketing tool, says the Journal. A brochure from WMX (the nation's largest landfill company, which now owns Wheelabrator) warns that "this nation is quickly running out of places to dispose of trash." The annual report of Ogden Corp.--the biggest manufacturer of trash incinerators--sees "available landfill space vanishing." These are bogus claims.
Cities that can't meet the incinerator's demand must pay, as the Journal points out:
"Incinerators need to operate at full capacity to make the most of electricity production, which also brings in revenue, and to service debt of as much as $300 million per plant. Cities therefore have been forced to bid for trash on the open market, often at disposal fees far below what their own residents must pay."
Public Risks, Private Profits
"In hindsight, the public sector got most of the risks and the private sector most of the rewards in building waste-to-energy facilities. Typically, the municipality provided financing; the company guaranteed the thing would work; the municipality guaranteed a certain amount of trash at a set price," the JOURNAL says. "Then the market price for disposal plunged. So, Broward County (Fla.) trash burns for $55 a ton at its two big incinerators, but waste from everywhere else is welcomed as cheaply as $42. In Montgomery County, Pa., locals pay $63.50 while outsiders can dump for $41. 'It was supposed to work the other way around,' says Donald Silverson, Montgomery County's trash chief. 'It's a sore point.'"
Future Looks Even Gloomier
Things could go from bad to worse for the economics of incineration. The JOURNAL gives four reasons why the future looks bleak:
(1) Cities are facing huge costs to fit all but the newest plants with modern air-pollution control systems. Incinerators are major polluters. In essence, an incinerator is a machine that manufactures toxic air pollution out of relatively benign raw materials. Bringing most incinerators into compliance with the Clean Air Act of 1990, will be costly. Pinellas County, Fla., expects that modernizing the air pollution controls on its 3000-ton-per-day trash incinerator will cost somewhere between $100 million and $200 million, including lost electricity revenue and disposal fees while the plant is down. That could force the county to double its disposal fee from $37.50 a ton, the county's trash chief, Bob Van Deman, told the JOURNAL.
(2) Electric utilities are fighting back against a federal law that requires them to buy electricity from incinerators at above-market prices. Utilities are now required to buy electricity from Non-Utility Generators (NUGs) at prices that are often based on early 1980s projections that oil prices were going to skyrocket. So today, while utilities buy and sell electricity among themselves at 1 to 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, some incinerators get as much as 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. (Burning a ton of trash yields about 600 kilowatt- hours, so 2 cents yields $12 a ton, 4 cents yields $24 per ton, and so forth.) Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. is forced to buy NUG electricity for 6 cents a kilowatt-hour, which it resells for 1 to 2 cents--taking a $400 million loss on the deal each year. Southern California Edison spends $750 million each year above the market rate to buy NUG power, a spokesperson told the JOURNAL. "That's why our rates are so high." Utilities are lobbying hard to get out from under the requirement to pay high prices for NUG electricity. If they succeed, incinerators will lose a major subsidy.
(3 and 4) The U.S. Supreme Court has 2 cases pending that could have devastating impacts on municipalities that bought into incineration, and on bondholders, taxpayers, and companies that own incinerators. First, the court will decide whether incinerator ash is legally a hazardous waste. A federal appeals court in Chicago says it's a hazardous waste, while a federal appeals court in New York says it's not. The debate isn't over the physical characteristics of incinerator ash. There is no doubt that it contains large quantities of toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic, clearly establishing it as a dangerous waste. (See RHWN #22, #92 and #189.) However, in order to grease the skids for the introduction of incinerators in the '80s, many states declared incinerator waste "legally non-hazardous." This was merely a way of having taxpayers subsidize the incinerator industry, at the expense of environmental damage, because if incinerator ash is labeled as a hazardous waste, ash disposal will cost 10 times what it costs today, adding $3.5 billion to the annual cost of running the 142 incinerators currently operating.
"That could force incinerators to roughly triple the disposal fee they charge for trash to more than $150 per ton, the municipalities say. Many [incinerators] would simply close, which could lead to billions of dollars of bond defaults," says the JOURNAL.
In other words, INCINERATORS CAN'T AFFORD TO HANDLE THEIR TOXIC ASH RESPONSIBLY, no matter what the court decides. Second, the Supreme Court will decide a "flow control" debate that could also kill the incinerator business. "Flow control" is a practice that allows a municipality to commandeer all the trash within its borders and send it to a favored disposal site. Flow control is another taxpayer subsidy to the incinerator industry. With flow control, a county or municipality can order all local garbage sent to an expensive incinerator instead of to a cheaper dump. The taxpayer picks up the tab and the incinerator gets the benefit. Because many incinerators charge prices far higher than nearby dumps, "only with flow control do they remain viable," says the JOURNAL.
Several lower court decisions have said that flow control is an illegal restriction on interstate commerce. A Supreme Court decision against flow control could spark an all-out price war in the disposal business. Dumps, with relatively low fixed costs, could ride out a price war. Many cash-hungry incinerators couldn't, says the JOURNAL.
Bailouts at Taxpayer Expense
To survive without legal flow control, some municipalities are resorting to "economic flow control" instead. In essence, they set the disposal fee at their incinerator low enough to attract trash, then make up the rest of the costs by raising taxes. This is how Montgomerey County, Maryland is planning to pay for its $325 million, 1800-ton-per-day incinerator: waste disposal taxes in the county will rise from $146 per year to $246 per year by 1999, says the JOURNAL. Taxpayers in Columbus, Oh. have subsidized the city's incinerator to the tune of $100 million over the last decade, the JOURNAL says.
Blaming the EPA
Incinerator operators blame U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for going easy on dumps, but the director of EPA's division of industrial and municipal solid waste, Bruce Weddle, told the JOURNAL, "The stuff that goes up the [incinerator] stack affects more people than [garbage water] going into the groundwater." Creative Responses LaCrosse County, Wisconsin, sued its consultants for overestimating the area's trash volume and collected $2.6 million, according to the JOURNAL.
The Journal article reflects everything we see in Guam's incinerator contract that King Karl wants us to accept: put-or-pay quotas for trash to the incinerator, the scarce-land scare, hidden costs to dispose of toxic incinerator ash, flow control of trash to the incinerator, and hidden costs to upgrade the incinerator when EPA standards are revised.
Karl has obligated us to this financially disastrous incinerator contract, or an $8 million default penalty if we kill the contract. I see no reason we shouldn't buy out the incinerator contract for $8 million before the default cost rises, considering our alternative.
-- Lighthouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 11, 1998.