January 3, 2006

CA AB 1090 - Hearing and Vote to Take Place 1/9/06

In an article on the front page of the Los Angeles Daily News (1/3/06), writer Kerry Cavanaugh identifies the two parties on opposite sides of California Assembly Bill 1090. In opposition to changes to the existing statute that would encourage local development and installation of trash-to-energy technologies are "some environmental groups" who are concerned that "it would undermine recycling efforts."

There are tremendous benefits to the environment if this bill passes and investment in conversion technologies begins to have an impact on waste treatment in the state: reduced landfill demand, lower greenhouse gas emissions, net increase in the production of green electricity, achievement of landfill diversion goals, reduction of agricultural and forestry wastes, production of renewable fuel.

It seems ironic that groups like "Californians Against Waste" and "Natural Resources Defense Council" should take a position to discourage the development of clean solutions to advance environmental causes - as if these technologies would not be subject to strict enforcement of existing emission regulations. There is clear awareness of all parties that only black trash can waste - that which is not otherwise recycleable - would be the feedstock of these technologies. Yet the negotiating rages on.

Left unsaid in the article is the serious expectation that upwards of 2 billion gallons of ethanol could be produced from the conversion of California's 40 million tons of post-recycled waste. This could fill the demand for ethanol that comprises over 5% of all gasoline sold in the state - 99% of which is currently imported from surrounding states.

Below are excerpts taken from the article...


Refuse Future Hinges on Bill
Law would aid trash-to-energy
By Kerry Cavanaugh, Staff Writer

The future of Los Angeles' trash policy could be decided in Sacramento, where legislators are set this month to consider a bill that could make it easier to build trash-to-energy plants.

Los Angeles city and county officials are studying so-called conversion technologies that lessen dependence on landfills by turning trash into gas or electricity.

City Councilman Greig Smith has proposed building plants in Los Angeles by 2010 to alleviate the need for Sunshine Canyon Landfill - the Granada Hills dump that currently takes the city's residential trash - but said he needs a change in state law to allow it.

"Right now, they simply can't get permitted or sited," said David Roberti, a former state senator and current president of the BioEnergy Producers Association.

His group is pushing AB 1090, sponsored by Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews, D-Stockton, which would define conversion technologies in state law and equate conversion with recycling because both processes turn trash into usable products.

The proposed law also would encourage the development of conversion facilities because trash sent to trash-to-energy plants would be counted toward the state mandate that 50 percent of all trash be diverted from landfills.

But some environmental groups oppose the bill, saying it would undermine recycling efforts.

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