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« Forever awesome | Main | Carruthers memo »

Aug 23, 2011


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You might see a push to get robbie Perkins recused from voting with his conflict of interest .

Jordan Green

Before he slipped out, Knight could be seen hunched over in accountant posture and it looked like he was tallying some numbers with a small pencil while Bellamy-Small was speaking. Whatever he was working on, he didn't choose to share.

But yes, I found it curious that Knight's judgment about the private sector and solid waste comes down to a belief.

Billy Jones

Long range planning!

Abner Doon

"Seems like it's worth running the numbers anyway, huh?"



Information is a good thing


'Thompson said, “We’ve already got bids on the table for $1 million and $2 million. They can either be below that – for free – or they can be at that price or higher.”'

Such insight!

Billy Jones

You want information? I'll give you information:

Waste Management Inc is investing in W2E From the article:

"In my mind, it's pretty simple why we're doing it: If we don't figure it out, somebody is, and they'll take the waste away from us. If we lose the waste, we've certainly lost the business,” said Carl Rush, vice president of the company's organic growth group, the chief vehicle for its energy investments."

And this:

"In the first, the company operates 17 waste-to-energy plants that incinerate garbage to generate electricity. It also collects methane gas from 129 landfills and turns it into electricity, which it sends to the grid for public use.

Combined, those projects produce enough energy to power 1.1 million homes — more than the U.S. solar industry. And the company has a goal to double that by 2020."

And this:

"Terrabon, a Houston firm that has developed an acid fermentation process that converts organic waste into a gasoline nearly identical to its petroleum-based counterpart.

Agilyx, an Oregon firm that makes a crude oil substitute from waste plastics.

Enerkem, a Canadian company that can make ethanol from municipal solid waste and wood chips."

But wait, there's more:

"Waste Management also has its own pilot plant in Oklahoma that converts landfill gas to diesel fuel for its trash collection trucks. And it's in a joint venture with Linde in an Altamont, Calif., plant that turns landfill gas into liquefied natural gas and powers 1,000 garbage trucks there."

But wait, there's more!

"Waste Management also has its own pilot plant in Oklahoma that converts landfill gas to diesel fuel for its trash collection trucks. And it's in a joint venture with Linde in an Altamont, Calif., plant that turns landfill gas into liquefied natural gas and powers 1,000 garbage trucks there."

That's right, enough LPG to power 1000 garbage trucks! And some people still think W2E doesn't work.

But it doesn't stop there. Oh no:

"The list goes on. The company now has a portfolio of nearly 30 acquisitions, joint ventures and investment projects at various stages of development. Rush won't disclose the actual amount Waste Management has spent on the projects, but he said typical outlays have been $5 million to $10 million each."

Let's see here. Currently we're spending $8 Million a year hauling to Montgomery County and hauling to Randolph County will only cost us $6-7 Million a year. Someone do the math on that.

Here's the gotcha you're all looking for:

"Most of the technologies aren't yet contributing to the bottom line. But several should start production within the next two years, he said. As they grow, the goal will be to integrate them into Waste Management sites and capture more revenue."

And White Street is said to have what-- 3 to 5 years left? But I know you're still thinking me a crazy old fool and will no doubt drag up:

"But some analysts are getting antsy to see a return on the investments. “I'm not seeing any benefit from it probably for three to five years,” said Michael E. Hoffman, who follows the company for Memphis, Tenn.-based Wunderlich Securities. “That's a long time for investors.”

Yes, three to five years is a long time for investors but it's not a long time for a city that is going to run out of landfill space in 3-5 years.

The Federal Government and the state of North Carolina are becoming very difficult when it comes to opening new landfills. The truth is, NCDENR and the EPA don't like permitting new landfills. In a few years from now Greensboro will be hauling our MSW to a W2E plant somewhere. The only question is: Will we be paying tipping fees in excess of $38 per ton at a W2E plant that belongs to someone else or will we be collecting tipping fees from other cities that fought against W2E until their own landfills overflowed?

Have at it kids.


"the ram-through..."

You mean the ram through that took place in 2006, right?

I love how certain people opposed to re-opening White St to household trash the action, made by majority vote, like to frame this issue.

Dave Ribar


"The ram through that took place in 2006?"

Besides the council vote in 2006, you might have mentioned that

- the city council voted in 2001 to close White Street to household trash effective 2008 and began the process of building a transfer station.

- the transfer station was completed in 2006

- that the city council also voted 6-3 in 2008 to keep White Street closed to household trash.

Ed Cone

One of the more troubling elements of the ram-through has been the lack of transparency by the mini-majority.

Tony Wilkins keeps saying that the Four have in fact explained things. I wrote this yesterday, and am hoping for a response:

"Tony, it would be helpful if you could link to some clear explanations from the mini-majority about the need for haste in pushing for a 15-year deal and then the hurry-up on the latest RFP, and also about long-term plans for GSO's municipal waste, and (beyond Danny Thompson's claim that he's representing most of the city) some discussion of the political situation wherein many citizens seem deeply upset with this process. Thanks."

I'd add questions about cost comparisons and the full cost of reopening, too.

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