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[greenyes] Call your Senators to keep incineration out of U.S. Energy Bill
Dear Colleagues,

There have been a few messages on GreenYes recently about the new US energy
bill possibly including incineration as a renewable energy source. This is
becoming more of a possibility, so PLEASE call your Senators and let them
know that garbage incineration is dangerous, it's not a clean, renewable
energy source, and it will cost taxpayers money. You can find your Senators'
phone numbers by visiting www.senate.gov

Please read the following for more information, including the list of
Senators that most need to receive phone calls (from AZ CA CT DE FL HI IL IN
ME MT ND NH NM NV NY OR PA RI SD WV) and a factsheet from U.S. PIRG on this
issue. Thank you!


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OPPOSE INCENTIVES FOR BURNING GARBAGE

Garbage Incineration is a Dirty and Dangerous Way to Generate Energy

The Senate energy bill is a damaging proposal for America?s consumers,
public health and the environment.  It leaves American consumers at the
mercy of large power companies and threatens our coasts and public lands.
We oppose this legislation.

In particular America?s public health would suffer if garbage incineration
is classified as a renewable energy source qualifying for tax breaks and
incentives.

In considering the energy bill, we need to urge our Senators to oppose any
incentives for garbage incineration. This dangerous and expensive source of
energy should not count towards a renewable energy standard, nor should it
be encouraged through taxpayer-funded subsidies. Although the incinerator
industry insists that burning garbage is a safe way to provide energy, the
reality is that garbage incineration produces hazardous pollutants and would
displace important resources for truly clean energy sources like solar and
wind.

Contact your Senator and let him or her know that garbage incineration is
dangerous, it's not a clean, renewable energy source, and it will cost
taxpayers money. Then ask your Senator to call Senator Bingaman of New
Mexico (who is authoring the renewable energy standards in this bill) to
urge him to LEAVE GARBAGE INCINERATION OUT OF HIS RENEWABLE ENERGY PACKAGE.

It is especially important for the Senators listed at the end of this
message to receive phone calls from their constituents. You can find your
Senator's phone number or email address at www.senate.gov

THESE SENATORS MOST NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU ON THIS ISSUE (as do they all of
course!)
Bingaman (NM)		Reid (NV)		Daschle (SD)
Feinstein (CA)		Wyden (OR)		McCain (AZ)
Clinton (NY)		Schumer (NY)	Fitzgerald (IL)
Graham (FL)			Nelson (FL)		Spector (PA)
Leiberman (CT)		Dodd (CT)		Chafee (RI)
Gregg (NH)			Carper (DE)		Bayh (IN)
Akaka (HI)			Inoue (HI)		Ensign (NV)
Snowe (ME)			Collins (ME)	Baucus (MT)
Dorgan (ND)			Nelson (NE)		Byrd (WV)


***Factsheet on incineration in the 2003 U.S. Energy Bill from PIRG***

OPPOSE TAX BREAKS FOR BURNING GARBAGE

Garbage Incineration is a Dirty and Dangerous Way to Generate Energy

The municipal solid waste (MSW), or garbage incinerator industry has managed
to classify garbage incineration as a renewable energy source in the 2003
energy bills. They are trying to make new garbage incinerators eligible for
millions of dollars in tax credits, which would be a huge boon to the
industry, taking away from real progress toward clean, renewable energy
sources like wind and solar power. It would also encourage the growth of an
expensive, dangerous, and increasingly obsolete industry.

The Senate Finance Committee?s and House Ways and Means tax packages define
biomass under the production tax credit to specifically exclude MSW.
However, new language specifically including garbage incineration overrides
the MSW exclusion, allowing tax credits for this dirty energy source.  The
production tax credit should be used to encourage truly clean renewable
resources, not burning garbage.

The incinerator industry insists that burning garbage is a safe way to
provide energy in the United States. In reality, GARBAGE INCINERATION IS
DANGEROUS AND WILL COST TAXPAYERS MONEY.

Not one new incinerator has been built in the United States in six years due
to the effects on public health and massive costs. Handing out tax credits
to garbage incinerators would give an obsolete industry a jumpstart to build
new incinerators -- a major step backwards in the progress we?ve made in
decreasing the dangerous and expensive practice of garbage incineration.


The Facts on Incinerator Emissions

While garbage incinerators may have reduced emissions, any amount of a
chemical like dioxin released into the environment is hazardous. Reducing
dioxin levels is like switching from a high-tar to a low-tar cigarette.
Fortunately, there is a no smoking option. Energy from true renewable energy
sources like wind and solar power do not emit dioxins, mercury, lead, PCBs,
and other harmful chemicals into the environment at all. An energy source
that creates pollution is not clean. We should not subsidize or encourage
garbage incineration or any other dirty energy source.

· Dioxin Emissions: Dioxin is a known human carcinogen according to the EPA
and causes impairment of immune, nervous, reproductive, and endocrine
systems at extremely low levels.  Incinerators create dioxin when certain
types of garbage are burned.  Incinerators create and emit dioxin into the
environment every day. According to a National Academy of Sciences study
(2000), while available evidence suggests waste incinerators have reduced
their dioxin releases to the air, there is no such evidence that total
dioxin releases (e.g., releases in fly ash, bottom ash, and other residues)
have gone down. This is a problem because the dioxin levels in our food and
bodies are already high enough to cause substantial harm, especially to
pregnant women and young children. In fact, a recent study from the Journal
of Toxicology and Environmental Health shows that Americans are getting 22
times the maximum dioxin exposure suggested by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency through their food. Among infants, that level is 35 to 65
times the recommended dosage largely because of high dioxin concentrations
in human breast milk. Any additional dioxin will only add to high levels of
dioxin already found in our bodies.

· Mercury Emissions: According to the most recent EPA data, there were still
2.2 tons of mercury emitted from garbage incinerators in the year 2000. It
takes only one gram of mercury to contaminate an entire lake with a surface
area of 20 acres to the degree that fish would be unsafe to eat. According
to the EPA, garbage incinerators contribute nearly 20% of the nation's
mercury emissions. Mercury can cause significant neurological damage and
birth defects, resulting in developmental delays and cognitive defects. When
released into the environment, mercury ends up in groundwater or surface
waterways, where it accumulates to high levels in the fish Americans eat. A
recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that as many as
60,000 babies may be born at risk of neurological damage every year because
of the their mothers' mercury exposure through fish.

· Heavy Metals, Soot and Smog-forming Emissions: According to the most
recent EPA data, in addition to dioxin and mercury emissions, in the year
2000, garbage incinerators emitted 707 tons of particulate matter, 0.33 tons
of cadmium, 4.76 tons of lead (a neurotoxin), 2,672 tons of HCl
(hydrochloric acid which causes burning, irritation, and pulmonary edema),
4,076 tons of SO2 (sulfur dioxide which is soot-forming pollution), and
46,500 tons of NOx (nitrogen oxides which are smog-forming pollution).

· Toxic Chemicals Found in Incinerator Ash: Because many pollutants emitted
from garbage incinerators are persistent pollutants, even if air emissions
are reduced, the pollutants will contaminate the waste ash from the
incinerator. In fact, it is likely that the more efficient the scrubber, the
more toxic the fly ash becomes. According to European studies (little
information exists on fly ash from incinerators in the U.S.) dioxin releases
from incineration have likely not been reduced greatly in recent decades.
Pollution control devices, like scrubbers, simply shift pollution to another
media. Ultimately the incinerators will must dispose of the toxic ash in
landfills (which are another source of dioxin, according to the EPA), or it
will be released into the environment in another way. According to a
National Academy of Sciences study (2000), while available evidence suggests
waste incinerators have reduced their dioxin releases to the air, there is
no such evidence that total dioxin releases (e.g., releases in fly ash,
bottom ash, and other residues) have gone down.

· Monitoring Does Not Capture All Emissions: The 2000 NAS report makes a
recommendation that when monitoring for compliance or other purposes, data
generated during the intervals in which a facility is in startup, shutdown,
and upset conditions should be included in the hourly emission data recorded
and published. It is during those times that the highest emissions may
occur, and omitting them systematically from monitoring data records does
not allow for a full characterization of the actual emissions from an
incineration facility. A Belgian study shows that standard dioxin emissions
measurement methods only record 2-3% of total dioxins emitted to air.

· Control Technologies Do Not Account for Cumulative Effects: According to
the NAS (2000), the effects of EPA?s incineration regulations are not clear
when considered on a regional scale. For example, the collective emissions
of dioxins might remain a problem despite Maximum Available Control
Technology (MACT). It is uncertain if MACT standards will substantially
reduce risks posed by persistent pollutants at those scales because the
collective effects of incineration on a region or metropolitan area are
unknown.

THE SOLUTION

Oppose all incentives for garbage incineration. Garbage incineration should
not be encouraged by tax breaks and should not count toward a renewable
energy standard.

-----------------
FOR MORE INFORMATION: JULIE WOLK OR KATHERINE MORRISON, U.S. PUBLIC INTEREST
RESEARCH GROUP; 202-546-9707
JWOLK@no.address OR KMORRISON@no.address









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