Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Spike Williams Comments on Fairfax County's Proposed Purchase of an Incinerator Plant
The following is the testimony of Spike Williams, which was given at a public hearing held by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday evening.
"I would like to submit my respectful opposition to the proposed plan to spend $417.5 Million to purchase the waste-to-energy facility currently owned and operated by Covanta Energy in Lorton, Virginia. There are several fundamental reasons that I oppose this proposal. First, I find it dubious that that Board is motivated strictly by the desire to grant the county the authority to mandate the use of a specific trash disposal facility, an effect that would result in unfair competition with private employers. I think it is important to remember that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Second, I oppose the use of tax dollars to purchase a facility that waste management customers currently pay to use through their trash service contractor. The tipping fee will continue to be charged to the company that collects the trash and they will pass that cost through to their customers – the taxpayer gets no benefit from the purchase. And lastly, it is my opinion that the cost benefit analysis that the staff must have performed in order to determine that this is in the interest of the county relies on assumptions of continued trash levels and on stable production of power generated that are not certain due to the increased participation in recycling programs and other green alternatives, an area that is growing in efficiency every year.
I am in favor of a lease extension instead of a purchase."