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[greenyes] Marine Transfer Stations

Leila Darabi asks:
"I am a student at Columbia's School of Journalism researching a
story on New York City's long-term plans for solid waste management and
the business of exporting trash out of state.

"I am trying to understand the environmental pros/cons and
cost/benefits of reopening New York City's marine transfer stations
and converting them into facilities that could containerize waste
and make it easier to transfer out of state.

"Can anyone refer me to experts on New York City waste management,
the export business and/or the marine transfer of solid waste?"

Being that we're talking about NYC, the issue is complex and difficult to

The short answer to your question is that one of the better sources for
information about marine transfer stations is Chris Boyd in the City
Comptroller's office, whose email address is in the cc line above.

The major reasons to pursue these marine transfer stations, owned and
operated by the City, is to break the coming stranglehold that the large
waste firms will otherwise have on the City's garbage. That is because,
with Fresh Kills closed, and no near in landfills around, their control over
intermodal transfer points to rail give them controlling leverage.

Marine transfer points, were the investments made to expand the existing
footprints originally only constructed to barge trash over to Staten Island,
could be upgraded to reach Virgina and points South and trump the major's
control over the truck/rail transfer stations, especially if they scale them
up and open them to the commercial sector as well.

However, in terms of recycling, the Department of Sanitation has not
exhibited any fervent overwhelming desire for recovery efforts to flourish.
Indeed it would be difficult to marshall facts to refute those who argue
precisely the opposite. For that reason, there has been and continues to be
a crying need to shift recycling responsibilities out of the hands of DOS,
into a new agency with commitment to the issue.

Thus, doing what is "good" for competition is not necessarily the same as
saying its also "good" for recycling. On the other hand, the relevant point
of comparison of marine transfer stations is not to our idealized view of
what recycling should be, but what one can reasonably expect from firms like
Waste Management, who otherwise will be in the catbird seat. Remember that
these consolidators have told the Wall Street analysts that "recycling is
the enemy" of high profits for the trash business.

I hope that this has been as mud.


Peter Anderson, President
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Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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