November 19, 2005

CA AB 1090 - Solid Waste and Conversion Technology

California AB 1090 is crucially important state legislation in California to amend language in solid waste regulations (drafted in 1989). The current language impedes the development of conversion technologies in this state. The new language in the bill would reprioritize the waste management hierarchy to include conversion technologies, redefine these technologies more accurately, and allow jurisdictions that use conversion technology facilities to obtain diversion credit toward meeting their 50 percent diversion goal.

Below is my letter to members of Assembly Natural Resouces Committee in support of the passage of AB 1090...

I am a native Californian, father of four, a resident of the San Fernando Valley, living in the shadow of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. Like you, I am willing to endure the smog, the health-hazards, the economic and cultural challenges that plague this great state for the privilege of participating in their solutions.

I am immensely proud of the leadership role that California plays in the development and dissemination of new technologies that transform the world - in agriculture, aerospace, civil engineering, energy, computers, communications, media, and entertainment. “Eureka!” is a very apt motto.

I consider AB 1090 to be a linchpin whose passage will immediately draw billions of dollars in fresh investment into California to address multiple environmental problems and what our governor purports is the "defining issue of our time" - our renewable energy future.

We can change a cascading environmental liability (inefficient waste conversion) into a cascading asset with this bill. At the cost of updating a few choice words on an otherwise out-dated regulation, California can lead in unleashing a paradigm shift – cleanly converting agricultural, forestry, and urban waste into green power and renewable fuels. This shift will provide long-lasting solutions to growing problems of state-wide and world-wide significance – including greenhouse gases emissions, global warming, landfills, unemployment, and our dependence on dwindling fossil fuel resources.

What is the risk of passing AB 1090? Nothing that can’t be controlled by environmental regulations that are already in place. We don’t need the “perfect” conversion technology solution and we can’t wait until one is found. We need to act now to ensure that good people are supported (not obstructed as is the case without this bill) in their efforts to develop and perfect solutions.

What is the cost of NOT passing AB 1090?

• More landfills, more sewage spread on agricultural lands.
• More hazards from aerobic and groundwater seepage.
• Mounting costs to farmers for removal of their wastes.
• More fires in forests whose diseased timber is left in place because of undeveloped conversion options.
• More dependence on foreign fuels - and more friction between dependent cultures.
• More exposure to the corrupt decision-making of energy and electricity markets.
• More greenhouse gas emissions, more smog.

A delay means the loss of opportunity for California to lead a new paradigm shift in environmental and energy sciences. Turning waste into energy could save California billions in imports, bolster our agricultural industry, increase employment, and improve our quality-of-life in myriad ways.

Please don't "waste" this opportunity. Lead now by voting “YES” on AB 1090.

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