R-Board Meeting 5/21 – Correction of Comments made by Some R-Board members

At today’s meeting, the R-Board discussed moving forward with the RFP to award a contract to some as-yet-unknown company. After the Public Presentations, some statements were made by Board members that need correcting.

An example: Mr. Milde stated that nowhere in the RFP are incinerators mentioned, and so, by opponents using the word “incinerator”, we are incorrect and misleading the public. However, look on page 16 of the RFP and you will see a table that mentions pyrolysis, gasification, and other technologies that are defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as “incinerators”. Simply not mentioning the word incinerator in the RFP doesn’t negate the fact that pyrolysis/etc.-based systems are incinerators. No matter how many times this specious argument is brought up, it is still incorrect; award of this RFP could result in an incinerator(s) being built.

This is part of an on-going attempt to hide the true nature of the effort that the R-Board is heading towards – an incinerator at the Eskimo Hill Road landfill.

Mr. Howe, in his parting message, stated that we should go ahead with the RFP, as something has to be done. That is true; something does have to be done, but an incinerator is not the answer. Simple steps can make a difference. Create a standard fee that covers the true cost of issuing decals and using the landfill; that raises revenue and ensures that people from out of our jurisdiction don’t use our landfill for free. Raise the tipping fees to accurately reflect landfill costs. Stop the practice of charging by the truckload, and return to what used to be Stafford Policies of charging by the ton; that raises revenue. It seems like, over the past few years, the Board is making changes to eliminate revenue sources, and that is causing the revenue shortfall, and is setting the stage for an incinerator as the savior.

Mr. Howe also used oft-repeated, and incorrect logic that goes like this: because the US only contributes 18-20% of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it doesn’t make much sense to do it. It won’t have a big effect on climate change. Actually, it will have a really good effect for the US economy and the environment. It would make the US the leader in handling garbage, in low emission and environmentally-friendly ways, something that India and China are now beginning to understand the need for. And if we half those emissions because we have moved into more environmentally benign technologies for energy, we will be innovation and technology leaders for the time when fossil fuels are no longer available or economically viable. Not to mention the actual, and real positive effect it will have on the environment.

This is an oft-used attempt to ignore the impact of climate change on Virginians. When the military tells you it is a security risk to naval bases in Virginia, it is serious, believable, and true.

Mr. Milde and Mr. Dayton discussed, at length, Zero Waste. By putting out a contract for consulting services, the Board recognized and admitted that none of the Board members were qualified to evaluate the proposals, because they didn’t understand the technologies well enough. I do applaud them for starting to find out what it really is. But, if anyone wants to know about Zero Waste, go to www.StopTheStaffordIncinerator.com and find out what Zero Waste means. There are lots of references, reading materials, and links to experts that actually know, understand, and set up and operate under Zero Waste Plans. Zero Waste is a goal, not a guarantee, but it is environmentally friendly, unlike incinerators. It also doesn’t create the health problems that incinerators will.

There is 30-50 years life left in the landfill. Just because the Board doesn’t have an answer to current budgetary problems doesn’t mean there isn’t one. And failure to properly plan for something that is known to be inevitable, almost borders on dereliction of duty. Using the drop-dead date of 12/15 for the current landfill cell to be full, only points out that the Board didn’t plan very well. Multiple proposals to cover the funding gap have been proposed by staff members and virtually all were turned down. Why? Because of a fixation on an incinerator?

It seems strange that the actions of the R-Board have caused the landfill to lose revenue and not have sufficient operational funds, and then want to solve that problem by becoming the first place in the US to build a polluting incinerator in several decades.

Thirty years in the future, it would be good if we didn’t leave the landfill a toxic site for those people alive then to deal with. We have already set a good example by the current operations of the landfill, recycling 50% of what comes in. Why not go for 75%, then higher? Let’s not make the success of the current landfill operations only a memory that becomes a nightmare, by building an incinerator.

More reused garbage means less goes into the landfill; simple, really. Zero Waste is not a curse word, nor something that can be ignored, if the Board is really interested in serving its constituents. It is the only sustainable approach that doesn’t harm the environment while creating small business jobs. I know, that is not very inviting to large companies, and adopting that approach might reduce the chances of future campaign contributions from large waste-disposal companies. But the chances of disasters are lessened, greenhouse gases are not emitted, and waste water doesn’t get contaminated.

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