From: "Gigie Cruz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 11:39:27 +0800
Burning Issue Returns to Staten Island
The Department of Sanitation has quietly revived waste incineration as a
possible solution to the city's mounting garbage crisis, The Post has learned.
The city is seeking proposals to build a new "energy recovery facility" on
Staten Island, according to a Sanitation document released Friday.
"Energy recovery" facilities turn garbage into energy through combustion,
which makes them incinerators under state regulations.
An energy recovery plant produces only about 5 percent of the pollution
the old trash burners that once dotted the city did, industry experts say.
Byproducts still include emissions such as nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide,
The city closed its last incinerator in 1990 and retired Fresh Kills
landfill in 2001. Garbage is now hauled out of state at a cost of $1
billion a year.
Sanitation originally sought a contractor to handle garbage on Staten
Island. On Friday, the department added it was also interested in a new
high-tech incinerator for the borough.
Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro is pushing an energy
recovery facility proposed by Visy Paper, which currently runs a recycling
plant on the island.
The facility would dry garbage for seven days in sealed containers, remove
recyclables and shred the rest to burn as fuel for an adjacent recycling plant.
The company will present its plan to a City Council hearing Tuesday.
At the same meeting, Councilman Michael McMahon of Staten Island, chair of
the council's Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee, plans to
introduce a bill calling for the investigation of new energy recovery
"Let's look at these technologies, but there should be an open public
process," he said.
Friday's move represents more flip-flopping by Mayor Bloomberg
and Sanitation head John Doherty on the politically sensitive issue of
Early last year, Bloomberg said new high-tech incinerators, like the one
being proposed by Visy, had to be considered. Then he backed off.
"The politics are such that it would be phenomenally difficult to site
incinerators in the New York City area," he said in May 2002. "The
practical aspect is incineration is not likely to be the solution."
In his weekly radio address last week, the mayor admitted he was
"frustrated" with the city's garbage problem, but added, "There's . . .
new technology coming out all the time. You want to never close your eyes
to that and see what you can do."
Although the Visy proposal involves combustion, and Sanitation says it
will consider other energy recovery technologies that burn garbage, the
mayor's office insists the city will not fire up incinerators.
"The city has no intention of incinerating garbage on Staten Island," said
Jordan Barowitz, a spokesperson for the mayor.
Whether called an incinerator or an energy recovery facility, activists
say they'll have no part of it.
"We will not accept combustion [of garbage] on Staten Island," said
Barbara Warren, of Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air and a 20-year
veteran of the anti-incineration fight.