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Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity


Date published: 6/20/2014

Thanks to the FLS for covering the burgeoning question of waste management that Fredericksburg and Stafford County face ["Landfill alternatives discussed," June 14].

There are critical financial and governance issues for every citizen and business, whether conservative and tea party or liberal and environmental.

The article contained an important typo. Urban Ore handles 7,000 to 8,000 tons per year, not 7 to 8 tons per year. Of this, 93 percent is sold, 5 percent recycled and 2 percent 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 and regional government and business policies, the 30 years can be doubled or tripled.

Many cities and counties across the U.S. have reached 50 percent-plus levels of recycling, creating thousands of jobs that pay well and provide health insurance.

If you have an incinerator, you must have a landfill. The ash (concentrated toxic material), the bypass 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 10 years hence.

Promoting a solid 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 canceled a garbage incineration project after careful financial impact analysis.

Neil Seldman

Washington, D.C.

The writer is president, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He is an adviser to Stafford Citizens for Open Government.