Columbas incinerator tale of woe
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:14:37 -0500

Thought some folks on this list would be interested in this:

Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 14:37:14 -0400 (EDT)

From: John Thomas <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Letter to the Editor, Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch
Attn.: Letters to the Editor
34 S. 3rd Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

26 September, 1996

While the city mulls the bids for the trash burning power plant (Dispatch,
September 24, 1996, Page 1A), the big question which remains is, are these
companies serious? The current round of bids received by the city for the
Waste-to-Energy facility range from fantasy to farce.

Take for example the Chimorel Group which proposes "an exciting, low
budget, Disney-like" recycling theme park which will be used to create
jobs for welfare recipients. Persons will gain entrance to the theme park
by making a $35 tax deductible contribution to the Chimorel's charitable
subsidiary, and once inside visitors will be asked to sign a petition to
place on the ballot an initiative imposing a $35 per month household
charge for trash collection. The plan then calls for Tinkerbell to
deposit in city coffers anywhere from 91 million to 130 million a year.
Where does this money come from? That part is a little fuzzy, but if you
believe in miracles, Chimorel has a plan for you!

Norton Environmental's plan calls for the city to spend $1.9 million and
to pay nearly $20 per ton in tipping fees to recycle trash at the facility
the city just financed. What would the city gain in return? One dollar a
year in lease payments and the promise of a 50% cut of the profits after
the recycling market price exceeds Norton's preset "floor price." Norton
promises to deliver to Columbus a "similar success story" to that
experienced in Medina County. Incidentally, Medina County is thinking
about selling its recycling center operated by Norton Environmental
because the County is running out of cash. Who wouldn't believe that a
similar success could be achieved in Columbus?

Only one bidder, Technoplas, thinks highly of the Waste-to-Energy
facility. According to their bid, "a re-opened WTE plant would be an
ideal solution." However, since burning trash appears to be a financial
impossibility, Technoplas will use the site as a recycling center if
taxpayers spend $3 million on renovations. What do we get in return, just
a hearty thank you very much from Technoplas!

One might mistake AEP's $80 million bid for the plant as genuine
fondness for the facility. However, a closer look at the AEP bid reveals
that AEP is only interested in the city's electrical distribution system.
In fact, AEP would probably pay $80 million for that alone! As with the
other bidders, the WTE site is of interest only as a way of grabbing the
attention of local officials.

There are no easy solutions to the problem of what to do with the
Waste-to-Energy facility. As for the current round of bids, the city
should reject each of them. Local officials need to be more realistic.
Dioxin contamination, homeowners fears, the excess of landfill space in
Ohio, the $160 million debt, and the industrial eyesore that we call Frank
Road and SR104 cannot be fixed by spending a few million dollars, slapping
a new coat of paint on the WTE and calling it a recycling center.

John Thomas Teresa Mills
Neighbors Protecting Our Environment Neighbors Protecting Our Environment
1018 Grandon Avenue 2319 Parkridge Court
Columbus, Ohio 43209 Grove City, Ohio 43123
(614) 236-8214 (614) 871-1353