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Re: [greenyes] Energy Bill and Recycling - Hydro Subsidies Favor Aluminum
Doug and recycling advocates,

HR 6 also containers news subsidies for hydroelectricity that appear to 
further tilt aluminum economics toward smelters of virgin resources and against 
recycled aluminum.  The language is sprinkled in different parts of the bill and 
I don't have time to look them up at the moment.

GRRN and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) raised this issue in the Welfare 
for Waste report several years ago.  And CRI hit the aluminum waste and 
subsidies issue last year in the report Trashed Cans.

Since the vote on final passage has been delayed by the continuing 
filibuster, this is another good issue for recycling advocates to address.

FYI: The Aluminum Association is among the supporters of the bill.

Lance King

In a message dated 11/20/03 8:12:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
koplow@no.address writes:

> Just a heads up that HR6, the Energy Policy Act of 2003 that has just been 
> passed by the House, contains a range of provisions likely to harm recycling 
> and composting.  Though I am still in the process of analyzing the bill, it 
> is clear that many wastes that can be recycled will receive tax subsidies of 
> 1.8 or 1.2 cents per kWh if they are instead burned for electricity.  So far 
> I've seen no countervailing subsidies to recycling to at least keep some 
> neutrality among the options.  This once again demonstrates the folly of recycling 
> interests trying to obtain subsidies for recycling rather than contesting 
> subsidies to landfilling, incineration, and virgin materials production, all of 
> which devalue recycling.
> The following practices are eligible for subsidies under the bill and likely 
> to harm recycling and composting:
> -Landfill gas
> -Waste-to-energy plants burning mixed MSW (this is one of first bills to 
> include WTE on the list of "qualified" biomass facilities.  Normallly, it is 
> explicitly excluded.
> -Another notable exception:  almost all the past versions of the "biomass 
> subsidies for everybody" provisions excluded old growth timber from 
> eligibility.  This one does not.  I guess old growth makes good fuel...
> -Waste pallets and construction and demolition debris of all types other 
> than treated wood.
> -Other electricity made from wood residues, including at existing 
> facilities.  This appears to provide tax subsidies to existing energy recovery at paper 
> mills (among others).  I working to confirm this, but if it is the case, 
> would be a subsidy of hundreds of millions of dollars to virgin paper production 
> for something they've already been doing for 30 years.  
> -Paper that is not "commonly recycled," which will likely harm attempts to 
> broaden the range of recycled fiber.  No definition of what falls into the 
> "commonly recycled" category.
> -For composting, pretty much anything woody out of a forest, anything with 
> carbon on a farm.  This includes wastes from sheep, pigs, chickens, and cows 
> that get subsidized if you make electricity out of it.  Especially with animal 
> wastes, the primary beneficiaries will be the very large animal factory 
> farms, as they are the ones with enough waste to run an energy plant.  The 
> provisions, aside from undermining organics recovery through composting, will also 
> worsen the relative economics of family versus corporate farms, and of 
> organic farms (which rely on nutrient recycling) versus chemical-intensive farms.
> In fact, all of the issues I highlighted in a past op-ed on and earlier 
> energy bill seem to be items of concern in HR 6.  See:
> For more on the impact of landfill gas subsidies on recycling see:
> For details on the energy bill provisions I've evaluated to date (lots of 
> the recycling stuff not yet in there), see:
> Finally, for a bit of satire on the rather sordid process of this bill, see:
> _______________________________
> Doug Koplow

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