GreenYes Digest V97 #54

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:58:56 -0500

GreenYes Digest Fri, 14 Mar 97 Volume 97 : Issue 54

Today's Topics:
Bill S. 207
Editorial - MSW Management
Reactionaries, Not Conservatives
Solar Energy Cells

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Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 20:26:56, -0500
Subject: Bill S. 207

Regarding the group of messages that I have tagged after my following

Kim O'Connell of Waste Age's Recycling Times interviewed me on
February 17, and information from that interview appeared in a story
within the March 3 edition ("Bill to End Corporate Subsidies Could
Lift Recycling Barriers"). At the time of the interview, S. 207 was
the main focus. Note that this bill would simply establish a
Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission to identify corporate subsidies
AND special tax provisions (note that one comment below was concerned
that tax provisions would not be included) that are "unnecessary,
unfair, or not in the clear and compelling public interest." During
the interview, I made Ms. O'Connell aware of of another bill, H.R.
515. This was buried deeper down in the article, so for the
edification of our on-line readers... this bill does not form a
Commission, but rather identifies and targets specific tax provisions
and subsidies for repeal. H.R. 515 is very extensive, and even
includes a couple of provisions that I believe to be in the public's
interest. I expect some revisions to H.R. 515, but it is the most
far reaching bill yet in terms of taking away pork from the
extractive industries.

Other related bills continue to surface in the 105th Congress:
S. 325 (identical to H.R. 779) - would repeal percent depletion
allowance for certain hard rock mines.
H.R. 778 - would insure federal taxpayers receive fair return for
extraction of locatable minerals on public lands.
H.R. 919 - fair market value pricing of federal natural assets.

For those who would like to follow these bills, note Roger
Guttentag's Web address reference below. And..... don't forget to
write to your local delegates!!

Dave Reynolds
From: "Roger M. Guttentag" <>
Subject: Re: Bill S. 207

The Library of Congress has a legislative service called Thomas which
can be
an invaluable resource for both obtaining information about S.207 and
tracking its progress through the current Congress. Thomas can be
at the following address : When you get to
home page, one way you can get the full bill text is to look under
select Bill Text for the 105th Congress (1996-1997). You will then
be taken
to a search form where you enter S.207 to get the full bill text
which you
can also download. From this same page you can also follow links to
references made to the bill in the Congressional Record as well as
status in the Congress.


At 12:44 PM 3/12/97 -0500, you wrote:
>I am worried that this legislation will not address the most
>subsidies affecting virgin materials and recycling -- tax deductions
in the
>form of depletion allowances and tax-based energy subsidies. It is
>understanding that the bill is aimed at subsidies in the form of
>government funding because the conservative members of the coalition
>eliminatye corporate welfare are ideologically uncomfortable with
>that would in any form increase taxation. However, I do **not**
know this
>for certain. Is anyone conversant with the details of the proposed
>At 11:11 AM 3/11/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>This is new legislation to reform or eliminate "corporate welfare".
>>recently read about this Bill in the March 3, 1997 issue of Waste
>>Recycling Times. Check it out. Some say the Bill could level the
>>field for the recycling industry.
>Program on Solid Waste Policy
>School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
>Yale University
>205 Prospect Street
>New Haven,CT 06511-2106
>203-432-3253 (telephone)
>203-432-5912 (fax)


Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 00:20:52, -0500
Subject: Editorial - MSW Management

GreenYes list:

It was brought to my attention that one of my earlier messages was
posted during a time when some folks had a problem receiving the
GreenYes digest. For those that are interested, please find below a
re-post of that message (with a couple of minor clean-ups).

Dave Reynolds
In his guest editorial that appeared in the January/February 1997
issue ("Can We Afford Our Solid Waste Diversion Goals?"), Richard
Mauck states "It is our duty as solid waste professionals to evaluate,
identify, quantify, and publicize the true and complete cost of
alternative MSW management options. Only then will the public,
policymakers, administrators, private industry, and other solid waste
professionals have the information available to make fiscally
responsible diversion decisions for the community as a whole." I
agree with Mauck on this point, and have worked on modified accrual-
based accounting systems for integrated MSW management (sometimes
referred to as full cost or true cost accounting in the literature)
as a means to bring this type of information forth. I submit that if
Mauck had this information and executed an evaluation of integrated
MSW management as a system, it would necessitate a revision to some
of the premises within his editorial.

Analyzing an MSW management component from the perspective of its
annual cash receipts/outlays in isolation can lead to a false
statement of overall financial position. For instance, in one of
Mauck's examples, when 50% of waste is diverted from a landfill, it
is suggested that the tipping fee will need to be doubled in order to
produce the required annual revenue. However, a 50% waste diversion
will double a landfill's life, thus changing the annual cost
structure and related revenue requirements.

Mauck's landfill unit cost observations and his statement that
"future total costs of solid waste management can be calculated by
adding your current costs to the cost of the option you select for
waste diversion" do not address the relationships within the entire
integrated MSW management system. When less waste goes to a landfill,
the associated variable costs are eliminated. Additionally, there
are some costs that fall between the realm of "variable" and "fixed"
costs. These are costs that can be addressed in the medium term. As
certain assets are retired, there can be a shift in investment within
the integrated MSW system, e.g., from the landfill component to the
recycling component. The question is, what are the incremental
system costs when waste diversion programs are added? It is not fair
to answer this question prior to a program's maturity. There are
documented cases where waste diversion programs, implemented through
an integrated approach, have actually lowered the total MSW
management cost.

In addressing Mauck's declaration involving the importance of
communicating all costs, it must be understood that the landfill
element of tipping fees typically addresses annual operating costs.
We must also consider the up-front costs such as siting, permitting,
legal preparation, acquisition, engineering design, etc. These are
normally handled through some other instrument, but represent real
costs that need to be communicated. Additionally, there are the
issues surrounding closure and post-closure costs. There are many
who argue that the dollar or so per ton that is being placed into
escrow accounts is significantly insufficient in terms of assurances
that Subtitle D landfills will remain benign in perpetuity (i.e., as
long as they remain a threat). Since there is no data on future
Subtitle D landfill performance, quantifying financial assurance is
difficult. Some experts suggest pre-processing and/or accelerated in
situ processing as means to alleviate this uncertainty, and thus
bring much of the related costs within the time frame of the
landfill's operation.

Mauck airs a concern that is shared by many others in the field.
With the increased complexity of integrated MSW management, a true
and accurate cost accounting system is a prerequisite to effective,
sound management. This especially holds during this time of
transition, where mandated waste diversion programs have been thrust
upon a system that was not originally designed for them. The
mandated "rates and dates" approach to waste diversion throws
economic principles and market realities out the window. The authors
of some recent books and other publications have done an excellent
job at addressing these issues. They suggest policies that are more
sensitive to market relationships, and challenge government entities
to become leaders and base decisions on the best alternatives as well
as players that can create appropriate incentives in the marketplace.
Whatever the outcome, significant waste diversion is important in
terms of natural resource conservation and adding economic value to
recovered materials. From this vantage point, the majority of
citizens would say that we can NOT afford to SACRIFICE our waste
diversion goals, and we must create the most effective policies in
dealing with these goals. We must think in terms of resource
management, not end-of-the-pipe waste management. Mauck shows that
he is sensitive to the importance of policy decisions and stability
when he alludes to the problems that modifications can create in
terms of capital commitments. We must remain cognizant of all of
this during future integrated planning, and guard against disposal
facilities that are designed in such a way that requires an all out
raid on the waste stream in order to recover disposal costs.

Mauck notes the conflict in the link between waste diversion funding
and landfill tipping fees, a sort of "generate more waste to reduce
waste" oxymoron. However, in looking at the complete scope of
diversion programs, there are other sources of funding and revenues,
and the magnitude of the conflict may not be as strong as one might
initially think. In fact, there could be some logic to this
seemingly illogical mechanism. One argument is that as diversion
programs mature, less external funding will be needed to sustain them,
and the decrease in funding that results from less waste forces this
issue. There is evidence from many regions across the country that
challenges Mauck's "upward spiral" tipping fee model in that there is
presently a downward spiral in tipping fees at landfills, but
diversion programs still exist and are growing. This suggests that,
beyond the supply and demand relationship, there are many other
dynamics occurring in the market and within operations that are
either predominant or create adjustments to the impacts of waste

David B. Reynolds
Diamond Bar, CA


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 13:35:11 -0700
From: (Carolyn Chase)

Please network this - of obvious importance -


{Please forward this message to any interested parties.}

Californian Congressmen Pombo and Herger, with help from Senator
=46einstein and Congressman Fazio, are advocating the waiver of the Endanger=
Species Act for ALL flood control activities, including dam building. This
means that private landowners all over the country, including hydroelectric
utilities, would be exempted from the HCP requirements of the ESA for levees
and dams on their property.

Blaming elderberry beetles and giant garter snakes for the tragic flood
damage in California may seem ridiculous to some, but the horror stories are
grabbing attention in Washington.

On Wednesday, March 19th, Congress is holding its FIRST hearing on this
issue (another is expected after the Easter recess). We expect Pombo and
Herger's bill to fly through the House and Senate attached to a supplemental
appropriations package UNLESS we can poke holes in Pombo=EDs horror stories.

We need letters to Congress from flood control experts, planning experts,
and others refuting Pombo=EDs claims and talking about the true sources of t=
problem. We also need to hear from experts who would be willing to testify
to Congress and talk to the media on this issue.

Please fax copies of letters to Congress to Heather Weiner, Sierra C=
Legal Defense Fund, 202/667-2356. You can also call me at 202/667-4500 x204=
or email me at


The ESA contains emergency provisions that allow for replacement
and repair of public facilities in Presidentially declared disaster areas.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently issued a policy statement
clarifying how the
agency is implementing these emergency provisions in the 42 Californian
counties that have been declared Federal disaster areas. Under the policy,
flood-fighting and levee repairs are automatically exempted from the ESA, if
they are needed to save lives and property. In addition, any improvements or
upgrades to existing structures will be given an expedited review.

Despite the emergency waiver, Mr. Pombo, along with Representative
Herger (R-CA), has introduced a bill (H.R. 478) to provide a PERMANENT
waiver for the building, operating, maintaining, or repairing of ALL dams,
levees, canals, land use planning in flood plains, and a host of other
activities from the safeguards and protections provided in the ESA.

Section 3(a) of the Herger/Pombo ESA waiver would exempt the Army
Corps of Engineers and other dam building agencies from the consultation
of the ESA. Under section 7 of the ESA, federal agency actions must not
adversely impact endangered and threatened species. In order to avoid advers=
impacts, agencies check with biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, or the National Marine Fisheries Service, who then suggest
alternative courses of action if needed. Section 7 is one of the most
successful programs under the ESA -- only 0.05% of 190,000 consultations hav=
been withdrawn or canceled because of the ESA, while hundreds of species hav=
been protected.

Section 3(b) of the Herger/Pombo ESA waiver would exempt both
non-federal and Federal dam builders, such as hydroelectric utilities, from
the "take" prohibition of the ESA. Under section 9 of the ESA, a =ECtake=EE=
endangered species occurs when it is harmed, either directly or through
habitat destruction. H.R. 478 would change that definition by exempting
every activity remotely associated with flood control.

Carolyn Chase, Editor, San Diego Earth Times,
Please visit ;-)

Tel: (619)272-7423 (SDET)
=46AX: (619)272-2933
P.O. Box 9827 / San Diego CA 92169

'You've got to conserve what you can't replace'
Support C-QUAL
Californians for Quality of Life, Citizen's Political Action Committee
P.O. Box 9212, San Diego CA 92169

"Every citizen is involved in politics; it's just that some people do
politics, some have it done to them."


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 97 01:49:44 PST
Subject: Reactionaries, Not Conservatives

[Forwarded message]

February 26, 1997

To: GRN Listserve people
From: Dan Knapp and Mary Lou Van Deventer
Subject: Who's really behind the attack on recycling?

In their Greenpeace article distributed with the GRN campaign materials, Neil
Seldman and David Morris say "conservatives" and "disposal companies" are to
blame for many attacks on recycling, but this approach is inaccurate and
hurts our cause.

First, using the word "conservatives" this way continues a misnomer that
damages our interests. It treats our issue as though we have an inherent
political preference for one established side in a polarized situation. This
kind of political presumption laid more than one brick in the road to the
Berkeley Recycling Wars of the 1980s.

But real conservatives conserve, so they recycle and support recycling. The
popularity of recycling that Neil and David correctly cite is due partly to
the efforts of true conservatives who support recycling out of a deep
conviction that conserving is the right thing to do. They are correct.
Recycling is the most conservative way to handle discards because it
conserves value rather than wasting it. These true conservatives can be
found among Republicans and probably even among Libertarians. Urban Ore
supported a Republican in the last election because he opposed a landfill
that would discourage recycling.

Why throw away this clarity and opportunity for alliances? Why discard this
grassroots support from conservatives, and why polarize? Why not instead go
after the reactionaries that masquerade as conservatives? The attack on
recycling is a reactionary attack; its only program is to go back to
pre-Earth-Day-1970 wasting. Conserving our liaisons might permit us to
divide the reactionaries from the conservatives among the political parties.

Similarly, the term "disposal companies" includes thousands of reuse,
recycling, and composting companies. Neil's and David's analysis implies
incompatibility between disposal and recycling. But there is none, as more
recyclers recognize every day when they look to disposal service fees for
sustainable funding. Disposing of things that are valuable can include
selling, bestowing, arranging in order, and all the other orderly things
recyclers do with discarded materials. The fact that recyclers do disposal
better and cheaper than landfill and incinerator operators is the biggest
competitive advantage we have over wasters. It's an advantage that
complements the environmental one so near and dear to our hearts. Why waste
this advantage by ceding the entire disposal service industry to the waste
hauling companies?

Neil and David are right that the big waste-hauling companies are partly
behind the attack on recycling, but what motivates them to attack is the
success of recycling businesses in competing for the supply of discarded
material. The waste companies have lost so much market share that the
biggest ones are now selling off assets to smaller ones to keep their
publicly traded stock prices from falling through the floor. We should press
our advantage and keep expanding into niches wherever the waste industry is

Neil and David are also correct that the bond-trading firms on Wall Street
have also been a factor in the attack. Right after several court decisions
wiped out the flow-control props from under the incinerator and dirty-MRF
industries, someone estimated that at least $10 billion in bonds were in
mortal danger. This factor alone could explain the vicious attacks we have
endured. Here again effective price competition from recyclers was crucial.
But this is just supply and demand operating, not some age-old ideological
left-right schism.

Neil and David are also correct that money from the American Plastics Council
has played a central role in financing the attacks, but behind the APC are
dozens of American corporations that don't want to have to take long-term
responsibility for their products.

The underlying variables are too complex to be summed up as a resurgence of
tired old left-right dichotomies. We need to reframe the problems to our
strategic advantage, and we must position ourselves as the best, most truly
conservative method of disposing of unwanted resources.


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 15:38:52 -0600
From: Tony Kuluk <TKULUK@City.Winnipeg.MB.CA>
Subject: Solar Energy Cells

Is anyone aware of spent fluorescent light fixtures being used to
produce solar energy cells?


Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 11:51:28 -0500
From: Mark Dorfman <>
Subject: subscribe



Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 09:20:23 -0500 (EST)
From: sarah e jones <>

This may seem a little off the subject of recycling, but I am looking for
information about how to reduce waste and use resources wisely when
raising a child. I am interested in any info from prenatal on up. I
realize this could be a huge topic. In particular, I am interested in
the environmental impact of disposable products new parents are urged to
use, and alternatives that are environmentally friendly. Sally Jones


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #54