GreenYes Digest V97 #23

GreenYes Mailing List and Newsgroup (
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:01:28 -0500

GreenYes Digest Sun, 9 Feb 97 Volume 97 : Issue 23

Today's Topics:
forest news
Fwd: GRN CAMPAIGN? End Waste Facility Subsidies
State Law Promotes Wasting

Send Replies or notes for publication to: <greenyes@UCSD.Edu>
Send subscription requests to: <greenyes-Digest-Request@UCSD.Edu>
Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Sat, 8 Feb 1997 20:29:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: forest news

Feb 7, 1997

To: CA Forest Activists
From: Paul Spitler, WAFC-CA
Re: Ancient Forest Update

Thanks to all of you who called, wrote and faxed requesting the
cancellation of the Pearl, Outside and Bullshead sales. Despite our
complaints, and those of state water quality officials and Native
Americans, the sales were awarded this week. When they try to log the sales
later this year, we might arrange to do some public education in the
forests. Stay tuned.

We're gearing up for 1997 campaigns. Both of them are important and we'll
need help from everyone interested in forests to succeed.



WAFC is now circulating a "Citizens Call" for the protection
of all old growth and roadless areas that will be a tool to organize a
broad constituency for that goal from conservation, outdoors,
religious, fishing, civic and other interests. Please
take it to local community groups like those mentioned above to
have them sign-on as well. We need to demonstrate overwhelming
support across America to save the Ancient Forests and the
unprotected wilderness found in our remaining roadless areas.

We will then take this statement to elected and administrative
officials to press them for endorsements of a "no logging of old growth
or roadless areas" position. We can then push for specific steps that
can be taken toward that end. We are certainly on high ground in
calling for roadless area and old growth protection. Administration
sponsored and other recent scientific studies such as the Sierra Nevada
Ecosystem Project (SNEP) solidly document the critical value of these
areas. "Ecosystem management" will mean ecosystem degradation if roadless
areas are not protected. Linking together the moral arguments for saving
old growth forests and the very strong public support for this goal with
the overwhelming scientific support for protecting roadless areas is a
winning combination. Here is the Citizen's Call for your consideration.

Citizen's Call for Protection
of Old Growth Forests and Roadless Areas

>From the majestic redwoods of California's North Coast to the
wilderness homeland of grizzlies in the Northern Rockies and the
mist shrouded Tongass rainforest of Southeast Alaska, ancient forests
and roadless areas are among our nation's most valuable resources.
They provide homes for wildlife, the source of much of our drinking
water, spawning grounds for some of our most valuable fisheries,
buffers against flood damage, and opportunities for human recreation
and solitude that refresh our bodies and nourish our souls.

Regrettably, America's forests are under assault. Thousands of acres
of vibrant green forests were clearcut under the Rescissions Act
Logging Rider when Congress suspended legal protections for our
public forests. Some of the last remaining unprotected redwoods in
the world are being logged at the Headwaters forest complex by a
corporate raider.

Three centuries of logging and roadbuilding have caused extensive
damage to forest ecosystems nationwide. Water and soils are
degraded; wildlife and fisheries are endangered; only 2% of our
original old growth forests remain in the lower 48 states, according
to a recent mapping project of the World Wildlife Fund.

Numerous scientific studies have documented the ecological
importance of roadless areas and old growth forests. Further
degradation of roadless areas could mean extinction for species like
grizzly bears, lynx, and unique stocks of salmon and trout. Further
logging in ancient forests and the unprotected wilderness found in
our roadless areas threatens not only wild flora and fauna but also
clean water, clean air, climate moderation and other ecological
services necessary for human survival.

For these reasons, we call for an immediate halt to logging and
roadbuilding in old growth forests and roadless areas nationwide.
These areas must be recognized as national treasures and
permanently protected as part of our American heritage. Only by
protecting these last pristine forest ecosystems can we fulfill our
responsibility to be good stewards and pass on to future generations
clean water, abundant wildlife, and a healthy environment.

The 1998 Budget--which includes funding for the Forest Service-- provides
numerous opportunities to advance pro-forest legislation. WAFC is working
to put to gether a citizen's agenda which will address issues such as
funding for forest roads, eliminating Forest Service slush funds, and
preventing the logging of steep, slide-prone slopes.

We are currently working on a Congresssional education campaign to bring
members of Congress up to speed on upcoming forest legislation (both good
and bad), and to introduce our Appropriations agenda. Now would be a great
time to set up a meeting with you member of Congress to talk about forest
issues. We can provide you with a draft request letter and plenty of
background materials.

To sign-on to the Citizens Call or to receive information on the
Appropriations Agenda, please contact Paul Spitler at the Western Ancient
Forest Campaign at (916)-758-0380, email

# #
# California Wilderness Coalition #
# 2655 Portage Bay East, Suite 5 #
# Davis, California 95616 #
# (916) 758-0380 #
# (916) 758-0382 (fax) #
# #
# #


Date: Sat, 08 Feb 97 23:46:02 PST
Subject: Fwd: GRN CAMPAIGN? End Waste Facility Subsidies

[Forwarded from John Young]

the article below ran the other day in the post. we're all familiar with
jurisdictions that have made these kinds of ecologically and economically
ridiculous decisions. it might be good to have a session at the organizing
conference that focuses on how we expose the roots of the perverse municipal
economics brought about by heavy investment in disposal capacity, and
especially in trash burners. i'm sure we'll have no shortage of people who
tell similar stories about their own towns. paul connett would be a great
person to have lead such a session.

from this, i could foresee a campaign to try to get rid of some of the
structural biases that promote investment in disposal capacity (muni bond
financing for incinerators & landfills, treatment of incinerator electricity as
"renewable energy"--and thus eligible for a higher price--under purpa, etc.),
and/or to create compensatory incentive for recycling, such as special
financing, etc.


Trash Shortage Could Lay Waste to Area Budgets

By Tod Robberson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 4 1997; Page A01
The Washington Post

After years of public efforts to increase recycling and cut the amount of
trash headed for landfills, an entirely different crisis now confronts
Washington area governments: a trash shortage.

There simply isn't enough trash available to pay the bills at publicly
owned landfills and incinerators, waste managers say, thanks to
successful recycling programs, more efficient waste-management
practices and competition from huge international firms that are
opening private dumps in Maryland and Virginia.

The complex economics of trash are playing havoc with county and city
budgets, putting bond ratings at risk and causing tax increases for area
residents, said Joan Rohlfs, principal environmental planner for the
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Trash tipping fees -
- which jurisdictions charge to dump a truckload of trash at their
incinerators and landfills -- have become cherished sources of revenue.
When the amount of trash drops off, so does revenue, sometimes by
millions of dollars. In some cases, counties depend on the money to
repay debt incurred to build huge trash-burners or dumps.

The need for trash has Fairfax County importing it from outside the
state and has Montgomery, Prince William and other counties
competing for refuse by cutting tipping fees.

It also has elicited criticism from those who favor expanding recycling
efforts. They argue that local governments invested too heavily in
incinerators and landfills, making them reluctant to recycle more trash
because it means they won't have enough to burn or bury.

In Fairfax, 12 of 18 members of a citizens' advisory committee on solid
waste quit in protest last month, forcing the group to disband. They
said the county Board of Supervisors ignored warnings years ago that
Fairfax would have difficulty repaying the $250 million in bonds it sold
to build the incinerator at Lorton.

The committee members also complained that the incinerator -- and
Fairfax's need to deliver a daily quota of 3,000 tons of trash to it -- has
made officials reluctant to increase the trash the county recycles.

"We felt there should have been a plan for something like this," said
David N. Petersen, a Fairfax County school administrator and a
member of the advisory committee.

"We wanted vision, and politicians don't deal in vision unless it's an
election year," saidPetersen, who didn't resign but said he supported
those who did. "Now the county is having to be in competition with
people who do this as a business, but they don't have the same kind of
latitude that private industry has. . . . It raises one of the questions I
think we should be asking: Why is Fairfax County in the trash business
to begin with?"

County officials acknowledge that the overcapacity of disposal sites
makes it tougher for Fairfax to find enough trash, but they say local
governments have always had a responsibility to collect trash. Besides,
they say, now that the incinerator has opened, the county has to
operate it.

The trash shortage arose in part because of a 1994 Supreme Court
decision that ended local government monopolies over disposing of the
waste their communities generate. Now local governments must
compete against huge private waste-management companies for the
privilege of hauling, burying and incinerating trash.

The stiff competition led to a "tipping-fee war" last summer at area
dumps and incinerators as governments cut dumping prices to keep
customers and find new ones.

"It's happening across the region," Rohlfs said. "Everyone's lowered
their tipping fee in this competitive market."

As the fee war escalated, Prince William lowered its charge from $55 to
$45 a ton. Loudoun County followed suit but then decided to opt out of
the competition and reinstated its old fee of $55.

In Southern Maryland, Calvert County slashed its fee from $69 to $39,
just $1 below the price charged by neighboring St. Mary's County. The
problem is most acute in Fairfax, where investors are nervously eyeing
the rating on a $250 million bond that paid for the seven-year-old
Lorton incinerator. The incinerator operation's ability to cover the bond
payments came into question last year when Fairfax forecast a $2.1
million drop in incinerator revenue because it had to decrease its
tipping fee by a mere $3 per ton.

"There's been a lot of nervousness after Orange County [Calif.] went
bankrupt," said Joyce Doughty, director of solid waste management for
Fairfax County. "When you have less security, you have more
nervousness on the part of bondholders that there is perhaps less of a
commitment on the part of Fairfax County" to cover its obligations.

To meet the incinerator's costs of $37.6 million a year, Fairfax has
resorted to importing trash from the District, Maryland and Prince

The county is also scouring the Eastern Seaboard for potential
dumpers, Doughty said. Fairfax has opened its incinerator to
mountains of discarded tires from Virginia and Maryland, debris from
oil spills, out-of-date pharmaceuticals and drugs seized by U.S.
narcotics agents.

Montgomery County does not have that luxury, although it's under the
same pressures. The County Council has banned the importation of
refuse from other jurisdictions, reasoning that Montgomery residents
do not want their county to become a regional dumping ground. But
Montgomery still had to cut its tipping fee from $59 to $44 last spring
to avoid losing business to neighboring counties and private dumps. It
has had difficulty meeting a 1,200-ton daily trash target for its $360
million incinerator, which opened last summer.

The cut in the tipping fee helped the county boost its daily trash
tonnage by 13 percent, said Robert Merryman, deputy director of
public works and transportation.

But he warned that Montgomery's problems are far from over, because
residents and businesses are recycling 35 percent of all waste, and the
county plans to increase that to 50 percent by 2000. Added recycling
has already helped prompt Montgomery to start cutting trash pickup
from twice to once a week. Merryman said plans for even more
recycling will make it tougher to stoke the incinerator.

Last year, Montgomery increased its annual trash collection fee for
homeowners and businesses from $191 to $196. Merryman warned that
if tipping fees don't continue to cover costs, further increases in the tax
-- called the systems benefit charge -- are possible.

Fairfax is recycling 36 percent of refuse it collects. That's more than the
25 percent required by the state, but former members of the advisory
committee want Fairfax to follow Montgomery and increase it further.

Fairfax officials, however, say they plan to hold the line at 36 percent,
because they can't afford to divert any more burnable trash to recycling
and they are afraid they wouldn't be able to find markets for more
recycled material.

"You hate to be in a position of setting a goal of recycling a certain
amount and then having to pay to get it off our hands because we can't
sell it," said Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock). "If there is too
much recycling, you raise the possibility of having to raise taxes for
getting it off our hands."

Bulova said the board never considered getting out of trash disposal,
because "that has always been a traditional responsibility of

Meanwhile, companies such as Browning-Ferris Industries and Waste
Management Inc. have intensified competition among governments. In
1995, Waste Management undercut Prince William County and won a
contract to handle 400 tons of waste a day from Manassas. A 4,000-ton-
per-day private landfill opened in December near Fredericksburg, Va.

Area waste managers fear the additional capacity could spur a new fee
war, and so could the District's plans to seek cheaper waste-
management outlets than the one in Fairfax.

Doughty said the 216,000 tons of trash from the District each year are
crucial in helping Fairfax meet its 3,000-ton daily quota. Fairfax
produces an average of only 1,960 tons of trash a day. If Fairfax doesn't
hit its trash quota, it must make up the lost tipping-fee money.

Also, because Fairfax's incinerator generates electricity that it sells to
Virginia Power Co., less trash means less power output -- and penalty
charges for the county.

"If we don't reach our commitment, we have to pay the price," Doughty

Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company


Date: Sun, 09 Feb 97 00:15:33 PST

The Grassroots Recycling Network wants to identify issues affecting recycling
and waste reduction that could most benefit from focused campaign action and
linking up activists around the U.S. Developing these campaigns will be a
central part of the GRN kick-off conference in Atlanta, Georgia, April 5-7.
Please share your thoughts on this listserve. We will select three or four
campaigns by the end of February.


Date: Sat, 08 Feb 97 22:55:55 PST
Subject: State Law Promotes Wasting

Dear Jennie,

As on who works in the recycling industry, let me say that there is no
manditory recycling. If no one wants it, then there is no recycling. I also
feed an incinerator. I'm happy to send what I can't take to work to be
burned. I also have seen the waste of sending thousands of tons of trash thru
curbside programs making trash very expensive.
I've enjoyed your comments on PET and possibly boycotting it.



End of GreenYes Digest V97 #23