Local Dems support Rogers Road neighbors

Jack Sanders, Chairman of the OCDP gave the following speech to the Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday 9/24: Please note that I have permission from Jack to post the full text.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor and Council members.

I am Jack Sanders, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, and I rise to speak for the Democratic Party in support of the Rogers Road Community. We have asked the Board of County Commissioners to reconsider its decision to site the Waste Transfer Station in the vicinity of the Rogers Road Community and to conduct a thorough public search for an alternative site. I am here before you because Chapel Hill too has a role to play.

Chapel Hill is a progressive community, one that takes its principles seriously, chief among them the principle of social justice. Equally important is the notion of the integrity of government, the notion that our governments will treat all communities fairly, and that promises made will be kept.

But our principles must apply everywhere, not just at a distance, say in the Middle East or in Darfur. Our principles apply most compellingly in our own community, where the Rogers Road neighborhood has lived with a landfill for 35 years, where elected officials have made promises and raised expectations time and again, but where there are now, in addition to the solid waste landfill, a Construction and Demolition landfill, a solid waste convenience center, a hazardous waste dropoff point, a yard waste dropoff and mulch center, and a leachate pond.

I recognize that Chapel Hill has relinquished to the county the ownership of the solid waste landfill and the responsibility for disposal of solid waste, but Chapel Hill does generate a large fraction of the solid waste that goes into the landfill and will go to the Waste Transfer Station, and it has a moral responsibility to ensure that its garbage is disposed of in a way that is fair to the larger community, and fair in particular to Rogers Road. Furthermore, Chapel Hill has a permitting responsibility regarding the construction and operation of the Waste Transfer Station, and it will have to make a decision.

I call on Chapel Hill government and its citizens to work with the county government to ensure that the Rogers Road community, having endured the landfill for 35 years, does not have to live with the Waste Transfer Station for the next 20 years.

I want to be proud of our community; I want it to act according to its principles of social justice, economic justice, and environmental justice; I want it to redeem, finally, the promises made to the Rogers Road Community. You can be instrumental in that achievement, and I ask you to exercise your leadership and your authority to do so.

Thank you.

Jack Sanders
OCDP Chair
September 24, 2007

Thanks to Jack and the Orange County Democratic Committee for throwing their support behind the Rogers Road Community and their long long fight for justice.

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Total votes: 165

Comments

That's half of the issue addressed. Now - where is a socially just end-point for our garbage?

Dave, the Rogers Road Coalition (which the OCDP did NOT join, despite such claims, no one asked us to join anything), has demanded three things: 1) no transfer station on Rogers Rd. period, never ever ever ever, 2) closing of the landfill by 11/09 and 3) compensation for the neighborhood.

The OCDP has only fully endorsed number 3, and although we hope number 1 can be accomplished, we asking, not demanding, the Commissioners take another look.

Again here is the full text of the OCDP resolution:

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE ROGERS ROAD COMMUNITY

BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party recognizes the siting of the waste transfer station adjacent to the landfill was made over the objections of the Rogers Road Community that has already endured the negative impacts of nearby solid waste facilities for 35 years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party asks the Orange County Board of Commissioners to reconsider its earlier decision to site the waste transfer station adjacent to the Rogers Road community, which has already borne more than its share of the burden of waste disposal, and to conduct a thorough public search for an alternative site; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party supports the Rogers Road community in its requests to the several local governments and agencies for the amenities being brought forward by the Historic Rogers Road Community Enhancement Plan Development and Monitoring Task Force.

Paul, Where did I say that the OCDP joined any coalition. In fact I did not use that word at all. I said they support the community's fight for justice.

Have you read Jack's speech? The speech asks for a real search to be conducted and that the Rogers Road community should not have to put up with a transfer station for the next 20 years. He also states that governments should finally "redeem" the promises made to the Rogers Road community and to apply the principles of social justice within our own county.

At the beginning of his speech, Jack says that he speaking for the Orange County Democratic Party. That speech does support the community's fight for justice, so if you have a problem with his speech and believe it does not represent your views or the opinions of the OCDP, maybe you want to address it with Jack.

It's a good speech. I am not sure why you felt it necessary to to put any spin on it. I hope the BOCC will also take notice of what Jack said to the Chapel Hill Town Council.

Dave, you did not say that the OCDP joined the coalition, but Katrina Ryan did.

I have no problem with Jack's speech, but if the town gives the authority to the commission, it appears to me the town needs to give the needed permits to a site if in the town.

If the town won't do this, then they should sit back down with the commissioners and with UNC.

Carolina North provides a good area for a transfer station, by the way.

David,

Where do you think the trash should eventually end up?

Mark, I don't know. There are no good alternatives. Having a transfer station means our trash will be trucked out to some poorer county which uses landfills for revenue, either government-owned or private ones with high tipping fees. But those areas that use landfills for economic development are declining; Person Co. is having a big fight now over expansion of a private landfill. Alamance has said "no thanks" to our trash, Durham and Chatham have transfer stations themselves. Chatham is now talking about siting a landfill, but even if they did and we could use it, we'd still need a transfer station or new fleets of (larger) garbage trucks. And its at least 10 years down the road, it appears. And a Chatham landfill does nothing for northern Orange trash haulers, mostly guys with pick-ups, they can't go down to Chatham.

A transfer station for town and university trash would also be necessary even if we put a landfill in northern Orange, or again new garbage trucks, larger than those used today rumbling through the streets of the town and and then rumbling up Hwy. 86 or 57 or Efland-Cedar Grove Rd. to.....where? A poor community in northern Orange, mostly likely.

Oops, sorry, Mark, I see now your question was of David, not me. But anyway, I hope you will comment on my post, you do appear to know a lot about this issue.

Mark, a glib answer is "anywhere but Eubanks".

I am of the opinion that there should be no transfer station and our garbage should stay in Orange County. However, that is not going to happen at this point. 10 years ago there was a search for a new landfill site. After many candidates there was a last minute attempt to stuff the new landfill again on Eubanks which was not even on any list until the end. Duke pulled a smooth move and leased the necessary land to the feds for 99 years taking it out of eminent domain category. So what did our fearless leaders do? They put their collective heads in the sand and did not look any further no longer able to place the landfill next to the folks least able to resist.

Five years later 'authority' is passed to the BOCC. And what to they do? Nothing until a couple of years ago they asked the SWAB to site a Transfer Station. And what does the SWAB do? They immediately decide to site the station on Eubanks without any consideration of any place else and with out drawing up any site criteria. Then they spend all their time and the next 2 years creating strategy to push Eubanks through the process with as little out cry as possible. As an aside the SWAB and the BOCC have no clue where the garbage is going once it is transfered to the huge trucks.

I have not forgotten your question. The Moses Carey answer is still Eubanks because it is convenient and he is assuming the Rogers Road community is politically impotent. Paul has made a great suggestion as to Carolina North. After all UNC is presumingly the biggest producer of waste in the County and some are saying the space and place is there. Other suggestions have been made and if there were some published criteria I bet others could be found. All will have pluses and minuses and all will have political obstacles to hurdle.

(Sarcasm alert)Oh, it could be sited on the land in Orange County zoned industrial.

However, all suggestions we make have no meaning as we have no authority. So I suggest you demand the BOCC set up a list of search criteria and start a real site search asap. Then there would actually be an appropriate place to submit suggestions.

Much of the reason that the facilities and this new transfer station have been continually sited on Eubanks is because of the perceived political impotence of the neighborhood. They have played nice and by the rules all this time and it has resulted in lots of words but never any results. That is no longer the case. The community is not asking for this to stop they are demanding it. I believe this indicates that the Rogers Road neighborhood is ready to stand up and fight with every tool and resource they can muster to stop this transfer station and close the dump. They are ready to take their future and the following generations future in their own hands and do whatever has to be done to put a halt to this injustice. Maybe it is time for all of us to put pressure on the BOCC to do their job.

So sorry Mark, but I am back to my glib answer.

I wonder how many people in Orange County & how many elected officials, & how many community leaders actually think that we should handle our own waste in the county? It's possible that we could be surprised to find that there is a majority in favor of this.

The conventional wisdom is - as David stated in passing - "that is not going to happen at this point". Do we really know that is true? Have we just not asked the right questions?

The county should make a spreadshet mapping out the cost of transferring waste out of county with a 5% increase in costs per year and a reasonable projection of growth in volume over 30 years and compare that to siting and building a landfill. Aside from implications of dumping our trash in other counties that Mark M raises, we may find that it is significantly less expensive to operate our own landfill in the long run. The major challenge in modeling this would be in making correct assumptions about increases in cost and demand.

The overall problem with this issue is that whoever is associated with a new landfill search will take a serious hit on their political capital from anyone near potential sites. Carey and Nelson are certainly not going to risk it given their aspirations. Clearly they were hoping that a mea culpa would wipe the transfer decision away in time for a clean senate run.

What if we find that no one wants to take our trash in 5 or 10 years? It seems to be the trend. Should we have a contingency plan in case this worst case happens since it takes many years to get a landfill online?

I agree with Mark M that the community needs to think this through, but it is not going to happen unless the current leaders stand up, assemble the facts, take responsibility, and drive the issue.

If done right we could look at using the waste stream more effectively from the start. I suggested before that the OC could create a facility that specializes in various remediations - say processing electronics and creating biofuels - that could defray the cost of investment.

On Mark P.'s spreadsheet idea, we should extend the model to more than the financial dimension. Reviewing the minutes of the SWAB, I didn't find a rich set of parameters to use to evaluate any of the scenarios. I believe we need to start now planning for the next landfill(s) if we're to meet our future obligations. That planning should incorporate the best thing in waste management and using the waste stream productively.

"best thinking"

What if all this work was done and expanding the Eubanks facility was the best technical, environmental, and financial choice?

Having worked with the staff of what is now the Orange County Public Works Dept assigned to waste management (was Chapel Hill back in the day), I imagine the legwork for siting a new, local landfill was done years ago along with the financial models. They are professionals and have done an excellent job motivating this community to reduce our waste streams. That leaves me to agree with Mark P that this is a political problem with socioeconomic impacts beyond Rogers Road. It's political suicide whichever direction is taken.

The legwork that was done years ago by the Public Works staff was flawed from the start since they were directed by the BOCC not to include assumptions about waste reduction in their criteria for landfill sites. The public actively lobbied for the integration of waste reduction but was rebuffed.

In 1992 they said we could not take the time to formulate new landfill criteria based on waste reduction because the Eubanks Road landfill would be full by 1997 or so. At the time, I did some research and stated that the landfill would last until at least 2003 or so and that we had the time to do it right.

One important point about future costs - if we end up relying on shipping our waste out-of-county, that will put us in the most vulnerable position economically.

I agree with Will that this also presents an economic opportunity to reclaim and recycle our waste.

Mark P, I am not optimistic about the possibility of a new landfill, but I have another advantage that your spreadsheet might somehow need to take into account: Control. One of the problems with exporting our solid waste is that we have so little control over our ability to do it. At some point receiving landfills may choose to stop accepting our solid waste. Then we would have to search out other landfills that might be more costly and further away. This would not be an issue with an Orange County owned landfill.

well if we required everyone to recycle especially at the malls and at food stores then we wouldn't be looking at such a crisis if people would only recycle their own coke and other bottles can u imange how much space we would have in the land fills walking around i see in the trash cans flowing over in the towns at the bus stops and other places they are overflowing with cans and other recycleables

Mark C. (how many Mark's can we cram into this thread?) Another loss of control is what happens to the waste once it is shipped out of County.

I can imagine the BOCC trying to put provisions into the waster contract to make sure e-waste, for instance, isn't off-shored but what about other waste processing methods (burning, for instance) the citizens of the OC don't approve of?

I'm not the only person that has looked at the mountains of garbage we produce as an economic opportunity. What struck me about the notes associated with the transfer site was how little (almost none that I recall) the option of partnering with a commercial entity was discussed. If we provided room for a private processing facility, like UNC for the Innovation Center, we might be able to attract some commercial interests that are interested in those opportunities.

BTW, exciting news on my favorite landfill subject - LFG (landfill gas). According to Jack Evans at the last CN meeting the University is quite close on closing a deal with the OC to use this wasted resource. Great news. I have been pumping the idea - once again - that Chapel Hill became the 1st, best customer of LFG to reduce the economic risk to the OC. Imagine having two large customers - both Chapel Hill and UNC - to kick-off the reformation of our landfill out-gassing problem.

I was going to post this as a separate thread but since Will opened the door further...

A recent article in the Biomass Magazine highlighted a process by which solid waste can be converted to gas and then burned to produce electricity.

The waste is “converted into syngas and a hard glass-like material that is broken into pieces and sold for use as a construction aggregate. All the syngas that's produced is collected and piped to a bank of generators that converts it into electricity. In the end, out of 100 tons of MSW that enters the system, 4 megawatts (MW) of electricity are sold to the grid and used to power about 3,600 homes, 1 MW of electricity is used to power the plant, 15 tons of slag aggregate is produced and sold, and 500 kilograms (kg) of sulfur is sold as fertilizer. In addition, 1 kg of ash—made up of heavy metals—is landfilled.”

Another plant using a similar process is under construction in Atlanta:

“The new plant will be constructed in two stages. The first will likely start up in the winter of 2010 and will process at least 1,000 tons of MSW each day and produce enough electricity to power about 25,000 homes. Each gasifier unit will house up to six plasma torches and will process between 500 to 750 tons of waste. Within five years, Geoplasma intends to scale-up the plant by adding more gasifier reactors. At this time, the plant, which will stand on about eight acres, will process 3,000 tons of MSW per day, two-thirds of which will come from the existing landfill. “We'll be able to consume the landfill within our 20-year contract. This will be the first time that a landfill like this has been recovered to our knowledge,” explains Hilburn Hillestad, president of Geoplasma.”

In principle, Orange County could manage its own waste, generate electricity for residents, create jobs and, over time, significantly reduce the existing landfill.

I know it's not a straight forward idea to put into action. There are serious economic and political issues that need to be resolved. We could do it.

For that matter, we could manage the waste in other ways as Will and others have pointed out. I heard that comment at the Carolina North presentation on Thursday. I am hoping that works out- there was no mention of landfill gas use in the presentation (that I recall anyway), although, solar power and water reclamation were mentioned. If not, the county needs to bring someone else in to collect the gas and burn the methane in a turbine. Here again there are economics to consider. The rate a power company pays for the electricity is also critical and carbon trading may now help with cost recovery. The SWAB and a consulting engineer have already provided recommendations (April 12, 2007 BOCC work session, see pdf here).

Marc,

I thought about that recently and meant to dig up the article I saw a few months ago.

Here is an article in popular science that has pictures of the device in operation:

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/873aae7bf86c0110vgnvcm1000004eecbcc...

These incinerator generating plants may sound better than they are. There are very few operating and there is evidence that the incineration of solid waste at these facilities releases toxins.

Also, by encouraging us to view solid waste as a fuel, we turn our attention away from waste reduction. This results in the continuation of other environmental problems stemming from the manufacture and transport of products and materials that we might otherwise eliminate but come to be regarded as "fuel".

The few reports I have seen claim the plasma reduces all organic down to CO and H2. It is a different process than simple burning. I would be interested to hear about incomplete conversion of toxin or the production of toxins from plasma gasification.

I don't think the use of waste for fuel diminishes the need for recycling and reduction in waste generation. OC does a great job with recycling and even if the current landfills were reduced in size by plasma gasification or some other means, recycling must continue. Like petroleum, there is only a limited supply of natural resources. They may last 10, 50 or 100 years but they are still finite.

Mark M.- I sit corrected. In the Popular Science article Mark P. linked, there is mention about concern over heavy metals from the solid waste and toxins forming when the syngas is cooled. It remains to be seen if this is actually the case since the process has not been thoroughly tested in real world operation. The heavy metals and possibly the toxins would exist in the landfill regardless of gasification. On the other hand, the waste from plasma gasification would contain a high concentration of heavy metals, for example. It would be interesting to see how effective removal of the heavy metals (and possible recycling) and toxins can be. The claim is that water will dissolve the metals out of the glass-like waste. If so, in principle, water (recycled from steam generated in the process) can be used to wash the waste and collect the metals.

Which is the most toxic--the toxins released into the air from the gasification or the toxins released into the leachate from the gradual decomposition process at a landfill?

I just read the discussions on this thread and the two
scientific articles that were posted. I'm an electrical engineer
with a career's worth of experience designing machines and have learned the hard way the differences among a concept,
a design,
an experiment, a pilot project, and a full-scale production
facility. It is the scale-up, i.e., the process to reach the
last stage from the fourth, that is the issue here.

During the landfill search of approximately 1990, a Georgia
Tech professor (I'm so close to his name but can't remember it)
introduced us to Plasma Pyrolosis Vitrification, PPV, by which
MSW is reduced to glass (vitrified) with the intense heat
of an electric plasma torch, with almost zero
toxic byproducts. He
invited a number of us down to Atlanta to witness his
experiment in which he could indeed perform the
process on a token amount of waste. He was trying to sell
Orange County, or anyone else for that matter, on building a plant to process its waste with PPV. Unfortunately,
engineering literature describes lots of projects
that work in small units but don't scale up because of
unforseen difficulties, or will scale up but only at prohibitive
expense. No one in Orange County, and I
agree with this, should take the financial risk to build
such a plant. When we asked the professor to point us
toward a full-scale working plant that we could visit,
he could not then, and I don't think it exists today, though
I don't follow this field. Consequently, we didn't go to Atlanta.
I believe that we should let someone else
show that it will work, then copy what they are doing.
Orange County is a government, not an Chem Engineering
research lab.

I am not suggesting that we gamble now on unknown technologies. I was merely referencing it as a technical development to watch.

First, the technology needs to be proven on a larger scale and we need to determine the facts about what airborne and solid emissions the process creates.

Then we need to compare that with the status quo and figure out which is the best. Clearly the Popular Science article is a puff piece about a possible technology. I don't know the complete facts around the technology, but it is possible that if the heavy metals are, or can be in the future, contained in the solid waste, then that may be no worse than what we have today. And it may be possible that the plasma process emits less harmful emissions than carting all of our waste tens or hundreds of miles.

And this obviously doesn't solve the short term issue of a transfer station, nor does it rid us of the need to have a conversation about a local landfill. It is just something to watch in case it comes to fruition.

M

Another way to look at this is that we could try out 1-2 new technologies in conjunction with the transfer station. Without risk, innovations don't ever become viable technologies.

I'd like to see us build in some redundancies to our waste management. Instead of putting all of our expectations into a waste transfer station, let's look at at building a small footprint landfill, collaborating on a landfill with Chatham, collaborating with other local governments on gasification, etc.

Following up on Terri, Joe, Mark and Marc's comments, I'd like to see some innovation not just in siting one or more facilities but in how they are configured.

I've suggested two areas of innovation that the OC could specialize in: biofuels production and e-waste recycling.

First, these two would leverage existing interests within our community. As far as bio-fuels, we already could be using the LFG to produce methanol. While we do a fairly decent job on composting, there's quite a bit of organics we could redirect to bio-fuel production. As far as e-waste, besides the University and our community, we could look further afield to be a regional center of expertise for dealing with this difficult waster stream.

Second, why these two? The both are well within established technical means (no cutting-edge here) and, selfishly, offer the very clear possibility of producing a net positive cash flow.

In other words, we might be able to produce sufficient income from these activities not only to cover their costs but to add to our local coffers.

In addition, as far as processing regional sources of e-waste, we can look at some quid pro quo. We'll process your e-waste if you'll offload some other solid waste responsibility from the OC.

Third, both of these activities are well-suited for the I40/I85 site.

Again, just a few ideas on how we can innovatively, economically and environmentally we can deal with our waste stream.

BTW, in light of my recent interview with the Sierra Club, I revisited my and other folks comments here, on STP, their own sites and compared them to the discussions within the SWAB and the BOCC. Incredible disconnect.

The community - concurrent with the SWAB process - has developed some really decent ideas on how to move forward. Even today, we're rehashing elements that were discussed 3 and 4 years ago.

So, the raw material for change is there - why haven't we moved forward?

Article in today's N&O:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/orange/story/737346.html

Good cursory coverage of the current political situation that at least helps put the issue a little more in the public's eye.

Maybe they could do a follow-up on the implications of a transfer station anywhere in Orange County and ask local leaders what they like about those aspects of the solution.

It's time for the BOCC to act asap and start a formal search for an new solid waste site. The longer they wait, the louder this is going to get and the more pain for everybody as the schedule tightens up. They are wasting time.

This not going away. The Rogers Road Community is not going to lighten up. The DOJ complaint is for real. When Barry Jacobs said the BOCC was listening to the community's concerns he got it wrong. They are not concerns. They are demands and there has been enough listening. It is time for action; for doing.

Dave, while this debate is not only about costs, I think you would agree costs are important.

How much additional costs do you think should be paid to find and acquire another site?

Paul and all:

Time is money goes the old adage. Delays in construction will cost the county money. Our taxes will be effected.
The current site will continue as a waste disposal site. It will become overloaded landfill.

No matter where the BOCC goes with this decision there will be mass opposition. I argued against the transfer station in front of BOCC. One if the sites considered
( belately ) was at the HWY 70 and I-85 junction in Orange County. One of those who spoke about concern over this site was former county manager John Link who lives near by. That's how it will go no matter where one looks in this county there will be strong opposition.

The BOCC and all our elected leaders have treated this as a hot potato.No site selection search was done because the BOCC was going to take heat no matter where they selected.

"The BOCC and all our elected leaders have treated this as a hot potato.No site selection search was done because the BOCC was going to take heat no matter where they selected."

This is one of the particular aspects of the whole sorry mess that I really don't get.

I agree that siting both the transfer station and the future siting of Orange County landfills (if we should be so bold) are hot potatoes - that heat would or will be brought to bear on the BOCC and other elected folks. They surely knew that going in.

Why not take the heat, though, on behalf of the best possible choice using the best possible site selection process? Why even try to slide this under the carpet?

The BOCC is now taking the heat for no appreciable progress on the issue. If you're to be damned, at least let it count for something - hopefully something in the right direction.

Will, if the BOCC does look at other sites and it still comes back to Eubanks as the best place for a transfer station, would you accept that?

No.

Paul, I'm confident that a fair reappraisal taking into account many of the factors earlier omitted will lead to siting the transfer station elsewhere.

If, though, we're led back to Eubanks based on sound criteria that the neighborhood agreed to - a transparent, collaborative process that the community bought into - then, as I said last year, yes - I would have to accept that result.

As a Council member, I would have to do more than accept that result, I would have to make it work by removing as many of the negatives as possible (of course, I'm going to work to deal with the current ills no matter else).

I'd also have to take the heat.

Again, as someone that called for reworking the siting process before we ended up in this mess, did a bit of my own analysis and research, I'm quite confident that we'll be led away from Eubanks to a much more suitable site especially if we take into account the community's prior burden and previous promises by our leaders to compensate them accordingly.

Paul, do you think a fair analysis puts Eubank back on the map?

Dave, I'm quite confident that the is a no justifiable scenario that puts Eubanks back into the mix, Paul is just trying to see if I'd be consistent - and I will be....

Paul is on the hook now. I say that no fair analysis will put the site back on Eubanks, he posits there is... So, Paul, do we discard social justice and the pain of a 35 year burden in order to make Eubanks palatable?

At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, please define what a "fair analysis" what look like in this case.

And I see a little "two-step shuffle" in your last two posts, Will.

First you say "if we're led back to Eubanks by sound criteria" you would accept it.

But in your next post, you say there is "no justifible scenario that puts Eubanks back in the mix."

If Eubanks can't be "put back in the mix" there is no way it could emerge as the best choice, is there?

So aren't you really saying the same thing as Dave is: never ever ever, no matter what the cost of other options, will the station be sited on Eubanks.

No two step here. Pretty much saying that under any reasonable analysis, I don't see the site going to Eubanks. If elected, I'm obligated to hear all the evidence with an open mind before ruling on the SUP. Would you have me do less?

Will, I imagine it will be fairly difficult to hear all the evidence with an open mind when you admit yours is already closed.

Paul, let me take a second to bask in the irony.

Here I am, a candidate for Town Council, talking about one of the most serious issues that will come before Council - one I'll have to decide on if elected - and I'm willing to discuss and debate the merits of your and others proposals.

I have said the Council is the court of last resort for the Rogers Road community. I've said that if the county won't help our neighbors then it is up to us.

I've also said that based on the minutes of the SWAB, the BOCC, discussions I've had with folks on Rogers Road, folks involved in the process, that I don't believe the criteria used to select the transfer site were fair, reasonable or productive.

I've also said that, before I ran and now, that there's a possibility that once we go through another site selection process, once we gather, calculate and balance all the factors the Rogers Road family, our and the wider community consider important to the site selection that there's a chance we'll end up back on Eubanks. A chance. Bigger than getting knocked on the head by a meteorite, less than my chance to win a $2 lottery payout.

Again, from what I've read, from what I've heard, from what I've seen, I don't believe a new process - open, inclusive, transparent - guided by a reasonable decision matrix - will end up selecting Eubanks.

I've posted what new parameters I'd include. I've posted about the shifting center of gravity for waste production. I've posted about alternative sites. I've posted about transportation, potential business uses for the waste stream, co-locating private recycle/reuse business at the new site, fuel production and many other alternative and expanded possibilities that might make moving off Eubanks a win-win for both the Rogers Road folks and the citizens of the county.

And I've asked you what I'm missing here.

I don't believe anyone on this thread couldn't be swayed by convincing arguments Paul. What overriding factors do you see, Paul, that forces our decision back to Eubanks?

Will, I don't know Eubanks is best, but I sure don't know it isn't.

I want the BOCC to take another look and I've told three members that personally, for whatever good my opinion is to them. I think they MAY be open to it.

But Eubanks has the advantage of location and the county owns the property. Other solid waste facilites will be there too, including administrative offices, a convenience center and C&D (dry) landfill and of course the old (wet) landfill may stay open beyond 2011 for things that can't be trucked out from the transfer station (such as dead animals). It sure makes sense to site all these together.

But again, there MAY be other areas close by the towns that are appropriate too, although all would be more costly, even only because of land acquistion costs. If those costs were reasonable, it may be justified.

And to say that you are still open to Eubanks while also saying there's a better chance you'd be hit by a meteor than do so is trying to have it both ways. You show the Rogers Road folks you're with them (barring that meteor) while also claiming to be still "open" to Eubanks.

Something smells here, and it ain't the garbage.

Typical politican.

Paul, you're right, I'm backing the Rogers Road community in their efforts to get redress.

Asking what price is too much for the Rogers Road community to receive justice is like asking one how much is one's integrity or sole worth worth. Off course many sell out including whole communities. It is the old joke, "We know what you are. We are just trying to determine the price."

I will say it again. It is way past time for the hypothetical. It is time for doing. The BOCC must act. Everyday of delay will escalate costs and I am not just talking in monetary terms.

If the siting process is to be "fair," then it should comply with the previous commitment to not locate any additional waste management facilitates in the Eubanks Road area. Personally, I just don't think it's ethical on the part of our government to even be including that as an option.

Ruby, what "previous committment" are you referring to?

Will, I submit that there are times when it is right to have closed mind. It is right to have a closed mind against genocide. It is right to have a closed mind against bigotry. It is right to have a closed mind against child abuse, homophobia, torture, etc... And it is right to have a closed mind against environmental injustice that has been practiced against the same community for 35 years.

It is the rationalization of injustice that always smells.

Thanks Dave.

As you know Paul has shared his opinions on others opinions about the Rogers Road mess here and on STP. Generally, he does an excellent job shooting the messenger, not so good on disputing the message.

That's why I appreciate that, under some prompting, he has finally listed some of the criteria he thinks might override the social justice issue:

But Eubanks has the advantage of location and the county owns the property. Other solid waste facilites will be there too, including administrative offices, a convenience center and C&D (dry) landfill and of course the old (wet) landfill may stay open beyond 2011 for things that can't be trucked out from the transfer station (such as dead animals). It sure makes sense to site all these together.

This is the kind of discussion I was hoping the community would have.

What weight then, in our decision matrix, do we assign Paul's dead animals as compared to the weight of the commitments made to Rogers Road decades ago?

In a world where the meaning of words seems to have less value than it once had, to call what was said by an elected official in 1972 a "commitment" is a stretch. In the reference you link to, it says that there were "assurances" to the neighbors that it would only operate for a fixed period of time and that no additional waste management facilities would be located in the neighborhood.

This in no way justifies what has been done and what looks like will continue to be done to this community, but Paul is right, a “previous committment” is just not correct. It's important to be clear on who can and who can't make commitments.

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