|We just dedicated a statue to recycling bottles and cans|
(Some thoughts here and the City's photos from the dedication)
But it was also ambiguous in important ways:
A 2016 EPA study found that WTE incinerators produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions than landfills, America’s third-largest emitters of methane. (Methane is 28 to 36 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.) Paul Gilman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer of the major waste-to-energy incineration company Covanta, told Scientific American in 2011 that every ton of incinerated waste prevents another ton of greenhouse gas emissions.Critics of the incinerator have pointed to the carbon it pollutes, and suggest landfilling our garbage would generate much less carbon.
Incinerators’ opponents counter that the real choice isn’t between landfills and incineration—it’s between incineration and a radically different approach centered on reducing waste in the first place; upping recycling, composting, and reuse rates; and investing in solar and wind power. They take particular issue with the notion that waste-to-energy incineration is clean and safe for area residents.
From a Salem Weekly article last year on the DEQ's list of top greenhouse gas polluters in 2016
the Coffin Butte landfill, operated by Valley Landfills, Inc., also makes the DEQ list at #77, but it only emitted 28,366 tons of GHG pollution in 2016, about one/sixth the pollution emitted by the Covanta Marion incinerator [which was # 18].And more recently they wrote
[G]arbage incinerators like Covanta/Marion are more polluting than coal plants. As the Energy Justice Network has pointed out: “To make the same amount of energy as a coal power plant, trash incinerators release 28 times as much dioxin than coal, 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide (CO2), twice as much carbon monoxide, three times as much nitrogen oxides (NOx), 6-14 times as much mercury, nearly six times as much lead and 70% more sulfur dioxides.”But they may not have accounted for the methane from a landfill. In the comparison with Coffin Butte, we don't know how much pollution it would have emitted if our garbage went there instead of the incinerator.
The second paragraph in the CityLab piece gets at the real issue: We buy too much stuff, with too much packaging, and throw away too much stuff.
We are back at "The Story of Stuff."
|She spoke here in 2014|
|A basket only carries so much stuff|
Council finds that the applicant has not demonstrated that the removal of significant trees is necessary in connection with construction of the proposed commercial facility, therefore, removal of significant trees, as provided in SRC 808.020(a)(2)(L), is not allowed as proposed by the applicant. Further, Council finds that the representations made by the applicant in 2006/2007 that the proposed development would be a community shopping center, and not a regional shopping center were relied on by the City when it accepted the applicant’s “vicinity” for purposes of reviewing the proposed comprehensive plan change to commercial. The current proposal will have a regional market area and is therefore inconsistent with the representations made by the applicant in 2006/2007, and inconsistent with the comprehensive plan change decision.As I have scanned the arguments, not following them closely, the tree argument has seemed the most secure. The argument about the terms of the 2006/2007 decision seems more loose, and it will be interesting to see how that turns out if the decision is appealed to LUBA. The City did post additional comments on that 2006/2007 decision in the "written testimony recieved at meeting" update to the Council agenda. The "legislative intent" for that decision does seem to weigh against a big box store like a Costco. At the same time, it's not clear how binding that is; any intent may be more advisory than mandatory, and the standards may not be in SRC explicitly enough.
Finally, if you aren't following Councilor Andersen's informal time sheets, he's logging the actual amount of time his City Council activities occupy. Even if you think Council should remain all-volunteer, the time burden to be fully informed is very large, and it deserves more visibility. (See posts here, here, and here.)
Update, August 15th, 2019
LUBA published their decision this week, and is gratifying that in a general way, they agree with the thoughts here, finding more force and generally supporting the City for the tree argument, and finding weakness and problem in the City's interpretation of the 2007 decision.