Articles below the fold describe the recent convoluted legislative activities on landfill bills.
Please contact House Speaker Hackney and your local legislators to encourage solid Solid Waste reform - including environmental and financal safeguards, landfill footprint maximum size of 150 acres (not 350 acre mega-dumps promoted by industry), and funded mandates for recycling.
An update with the names of Conference Committee members will follow when available.
David Mickey, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League:
Senate Bill 1492, which includes provisions that limit where landfills can be sited by establishing buffers and setbacks from National Wildlife Refuges, State Parks and State Game Lands, passed the Senate yesterday afternoon and now goes to the House.
A new bill, Senate Bill 716 Solid Waste Management Amends 2007, would establish a 13 month moratorium on new landfills and incorporate most of the provisions in S1492 except for the section limiting sites for new landfills. Yesterday in the House Environment Committee, this "moratorium" bill was amended by removing the moratorium provision. Then last night the moratorium was re-inserted into the bill and it now goes to the House floor.
At some point the two competing bills will go into a conference committee and the differences in the two will be resolved. Since the session is nearly over, this has to happen quickly.
With the moratorium set to expire on Wednesday, next week will be critical for action this year. Those who were able to make the trip to Raleigh this week were very helpful, even though we were greatly outnumbered by the industry people wearing STOP 1492 badges.
Staying in personal contact with your representatives is still the best way to pass the bill we want. Please let me know if you hear any feedback from your conversations. Any votes taken from now on are likely to be very close so we will need to know where to concentrate our efforts.
Thanks for your help-and please stay tuned.
The Associated Press:
A plan to extend the moratorium on landfill permits in North Carolina skidded off the rails in a House committee but later rode back on again as lawmakers tried to salvage months of negotiation on more comprehensive solid waste legislation. This bill and another one in the Senate are meant to tighten permit, construction and siting requirements for new landfills in the state. They have hit resistance from industry and local government over fees and buffer zones around environmentally sensitive areas. The moratorium extension is supposed to give groups more time to negotiate, but the House environment committee deleted the moratorium extension from the bill at a morning meeting. The committee resumed late Friday night, and a new amendment restoring the moratorium and all mention of fees was approved. The parliamentary maneuver means the measure will now go to the floor and avoid a fight in another committee.
I'll front page when the list becomes available . . . thanks for doing this.
I'd Like to Know More About this
so thanks, zate for keeping up with it.
This is why:
While I was at work ... I received one of those automated phone calls - at work - (luck of the draw)
I didn't really understand what they were trying to tell me except:
Waste Mgt. 919 733 4111 Vote against the Solid Waste act. 1492.
And that's all my notes (from a stunned pen) managed to write down before the call was over.
Convoluted landfill legislation
Unique, when I called 919-733-4111 I was told that I had reached a receptionist at the legislative building. (On a Sunday afternoon)? I didn't mention Waste Management or SB 1492 (The Solid Waste Management Act of 2007). Then I located the number under Telephone Contacts in NC State Government Agencies ,under Legislation – GA, along with these other numbers:
Bill History - (919) 733-7778 Copies of Bills - (919) 733-5648
Bill Status - (919) 733-7778 Individual Legislators - (919) 733-4111
Hmmm ... Can we counter Waste Management's automated caller ploy? Shall we all call that number IN SUPPORT OF SB 1492 ? Shall we call all of our friends to call that number IN SUPPORT OF SB 1492 and tell them to call all their friends ...(joking ... but - feedback? :)
That the industry continues to pull out all the stops to stop this bill makes it clearer that the bill - though significantly watered down by industry lobby language - is still good enough to slow down industry's drive to import out of state garbage to NC mega-dumps.
SB 1492 is scheduled last on the (long) House agenda for Monday. Word is that passage of SB 1492 will be difficult in the House. Should it become too much more watered down, SB 716 offers the option of a moratorium extension for thirteen months, plus "SB 1492 lite".
Conference Committee Members will likely be selected by Basnight and Hackney on Tuesday. Thursday is targeted as the last day of the session, so Wednesday should be interesting.
Waste industry lobbyists have been swarming for months. Their propaganda is powerful, and most of us regular folks have focused our attention on the Senate members. Joe and other House members need to know the depth and breadth of support out here for solid Solid Waste Management reform. His Conference Committee Member selections will be key.
On Friday, the Senate's passage of SB 1492 was a bit rocky; and here is a colorful description of House activity from Under the Dome:
To be (a governing body) rather than to seem (to be a governing body) requires fortitude against corporate lobbyist literature in legislation.
A corny contribution to encourage courageous containment of the waste industry in the "No Mega-Dump" vs "Stop S 1492" Button Battle:
That the waste industry dislikes SB 1492 so much is validation that our support for the bill is important. Yes, one of Waste Management's tactics - in it's attempt to stop SB 1492 - is automated calls and faxes, requesting that people call (919)733-4111 and ask that the bill be stopped. The call goes to a receptionist in the legislative building.
Thus a suggestion: make calls to (919)733-4111 - IN SUPPORT OF SB 1492. :)
I don't know what to do. Which is the correct choice, 'yes' or 'no'.
I can't tell.
Does it mandate better recycling in NC? It should.
Does it forbid mega dumps for bringing other states' garbage here? It should.
Does it make the way we deal with refuse more sane and logical? It should.
Does it put the burden on the taxpayers with no recourse to better options? It better not.
What a minefield.
ACTION - SUPPORT SB 1492
Support for SB 1492 sends the message that we want as solid a Solid Waste Management Act as possible.
Contact legislators on Monday.
House Speaker Joe Hackney firstname.lastname@example.org 919-733-3451
Your local legislators www.ncleg.net
The bill passed in the Senate and will likely be voted on in the House today. There are several landfill bills, and wording keeps changing. If it goes to a conference committee on Tuesday there won't be much time to contact members, since Thursday is (expected to be) the last day of the session.
Though progressive potentials have been "dumped" from the Landfill Bill, reasonable protections, both environmental and fiscal, have held. Though the answers to most of your questions are NO's, Unique, compared to the Energy Bill, where the best that can be said is that the good outweighs the bad and that we need REPS, the Landfill Bill actually moves us forward. I am learning, through the example of a friend, to see both bills as first steps, and to celebrate incremental progress.
Does it mandate better recycling in NC?
Mandated recycling is going to take a lot more work from the grassroots. The bill does address computer and fluorescent light recycling.
Does it forbid mega dumps for bringing other states' garbage here?
A federal law classifies solid waste as "interstate commerce". The state can not legally keep other states' garbage out of our dumps. (But we can work with other states to change that law).
Does it make the way we deal with refuse more sane and logical?
More sane and logical? Now that's a tall order. :) It can only be done by mandating public ownership of landfills and landfill responsibilities. We lost sane and logical with privitization. (Garbage is not economic development. :)
Does it put the burden on the taxpayers with no recourse to better options? My goodness, you are expecting miracles. :) Actually, there are provisions to address Environmental Justice. But I suspect expectations from the waste industry to capitalize on base load provisions. We taxpayers may get to pay for mega-landfill development, because methane gas is considered a renewable energy resource. While we have heard little about it during Energy and Landfill Bill time, remember: Think Green. Think Waste Management.
What a minefield.