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LETTER: Facts about ‘Ash for Trash’ proposal

To the editor:

Will Onondaga County import trash to burn? Three things to watch:

  1. OCRRA’s contract with Covanta is “hurtling toward its May 2015 expiration date.” This contract, signed in 2003, gives the plant away for a dollar and allows waste to be brought in from anywhere. Who signed this and was it legal? Who was informed about this agreement? Covanta must have been aware of a ban on importation and agreed to it. OCRRA had 12 years to develop a plan that followed the wishes of the public and their lawmakers. Now they’re “hurtling” and are trying to sign a deal with Cortland County to make money after they “sold the store” in 2003?

  2. An environmental review of “Ash for Trash” is underway in Cortland. What do we know of the plan and Cortland County? What do they recycle; remove as hazardous waste and what is their record on landfill operations? Who stands to benefit from this arrangement? The incinerator is at 90 percent capacity already. After recent articles on new hotels, lakefront development and weather-related destruction of properties from violent storms, does it really make sense to contract that 10 percent space to Cortland for the next 15 to 20 years? (If we exceed our own needs, according to OCRRA, we’ll send our waste to a landfill!) We have local talent in recycling, manufacturing and economic development. Why not utilize it?

  3. There will be a separate environmental review in Onondaga County? OCRRA has just restarted its ads that claim, “You might be surprised to learn that your trash is a power source.” Well, you might also be surprised to learn that burning your trash creates toxins like dioxins and fine particulates that cause cancer and lung disease.

This is what we do know:

• In 2012, Covanta reported actual emissions of 305,309,018.34 pounds of hazardous chemicals including formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

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