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[GreenYes] What's Wrong With Tax Credits For Landfill Gas Energy Recovery?
Last week, the GrassRoots Recycling Network 
sent a letter and fact sheet to the U.S. Senate 
Finance Committee indicating our opposition to 
subsidizing energy made from garbage.  As 
proponents of zero waste, we see one of the big 
challenges as keeping organic compostables -- 
two-thirds of what gets buried and burned --  from 
being mixed with toxics and inorganic material.  
Subsidies for treating trash as a renewable 
resource for making electricity only worsen the 
economics of recovering resources relative to 

Here is the beginning of our fact sheet:

Tax credits for landfill gas energy recovery 
may seem at first to be a no-brainer.  Why 
waste landfill methane when it can run 
turbines to generate electricity? We should 
not waste this methane, but capturing it 
must be required and not subsidized.

Let's look at the facts.  (1) Current 
landfill technology and regulations are 
fatally flawed - lined landfills only delay, 
do not prevent, environmental contamination 
of both groundwater and air resources at 
most sites.  Moreover, (2) the vast majority 
of methane and other toxic gas generated by 
decomposing garbage is not captured by 
collection systems. The solution is simple: 
(3) methane production can be avoided with 
readily available, economically beneficial 
and environmentally valuable alternatives, 
like composting the organic fraction.  Tax 
credits for landfills (4) undermine current 
organic recovery businesses and delay 
innovation of new, responsible alternatives 
to landfilling.  In addition, (5) the 
proposed tax mechanism is inefficient, 
costly and misguided. The obvious conclusion 
from these facts is: (6) Landfill gas 
capture should be required (like liners and 
leachate collection), not subsidized. 

(full fact sheet and letters to Congress posted

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