Letter to the Free Lance-Star

Thanks to the Free-Lance Star and Ms. Remmers for covering the burgeoning question of waste management that Fredericksburg and Stafford County face. (June 14, 2014) There are critical financial and governance issues for every conservative and tea party, liberal and environmental, citizen and business.

The article contained an important typo. Urban Ore handles 7,000 to 8,000 tons per year, not 7 to 8 tons per year. 93% is sold, 5% recycled, 2% goes to landfill.

There are many factors that will determine the best way to manage the landfill.

The county has 30-50 years left of very low cost landfill capacity. There is no emergency of any kind. By implementing state-of–the-art local/regional government and business policies, the 30 years can be doubled or tripled. Many cities and counties across the US have reached 50% + levels of recycling, creating thousands of jobs that pay well and have health insurance.

If you have an incinerator you must have a landfill. The ash (concentrated toxic material), the by-pass waste (waste that cannot fit in the incinerator), and waste that has to be land filled when the plant is down for maintenance must go somewhere.

Conservative political theory, as promulgated by Edmund Burke, says an elected official should do today what the constituency will want done ten years hence.

Promoting a sold waste management approach that uses complex risky technology, offered by a company that has never done it before, while using a governmental process that bars alternatives, is hardly conservative, tea party, liberal, or environmental. It will generate a financial albatross that will burden generations of residents with big government regulations and big corporate partners.  This is why the tea party dominated Carroll County, MD Board of Commissions cancelled a garbage incineration project after careful financial impact analysis.


Neil Seldman

Seldman is a solid waste and economic development analyst for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Washington, DC. He is an advisor to Stafford Citizens for Open Government, Fredericksburg, VA.


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