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[GreenYes] bravo for SWANA !! watching our backs on rail issues

Next time you see John Skinner, the Executive Director of SWANA, give him a pat on the back for this one.    One major issue that Zero Wasters are finding coast to coast is the difficulty of obtaining land “close in” to the communities where the discarded resources are.   This issue is tied to the larger sustainability issues of “going local” and the “proximity principle”.   With that in mind, you can see how the “garbage trains” issue is yet another hidden advantage (subsidy?) that the wasters get when they cram 50 tons of mixed trash onto a railcar and ship it hundreds of miles away to some remote old open-pit mine, or some “superfill” build far out of sight. 



“The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Md., has issued a statement supporting federal legislation to prohibit the exemption of rail-based solid waste transfer stations from local and state regulation. The exemption is the result of a ruling by the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB).

According to the statement, “While SWANA favors smooth operation of this country’s rail system – indeed, a considerable volume of municipal solid waste is safely and efficiently carried to disposal sites by rail – SWANA supports the traditional state and local responsibilities for solid waste management facilities can and should be carried out, and SWANA opposes any exception based on the proximity of the waste handling site to railroad lines.”

“The STB preemption as applied to trackside solid waste facilities removes critical controls that are essential to mitigating environmental degradation and public health and safety hazards. State and local regulations are not designed to impede the transportation of waste, but rather ensure that these operations are conducted in a manner that will protect the environment and public health and safety in all communities where they are located. For these reasons, SWANA supports measures to end the STB’s authority to exempt railroad-related solid waste facilities.”



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