Sonoma County"s Landfill Solution
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors have heard all the reasons voters are against the Republic Services landfill contract, so it's time they hear a real alternative.
Made just for the Supervisors, this film spotlights Ken Wells, who offers what is, perhaps, the only viable solution.
1. Net Financial Loser
The cost of operating the system will be $500 million over 20 years, but the trash flow revenue alone will earn $600 million. So if we keep the system ours, not only will we have more than enough money to reopen and cap the landfill, but we will have at least $100 million dollars in addition, to use on other county programs that need the money. And we’ll earn even more revenue from energy production, recycling and compost programs by keeping the program public.
2. No Appraisal
You have to know what you got before you try to sell it. With everything from trash flow, the recycled materials revenue, to using green-waste methane for energy, we really haven’t established what it’s worth!
Even though Republic will eventually be responsible for the Central landfill, this plan doesn’t include the environmental liabilities of the County’s other old landfills at Annapolis, Guerneville, Occidental, Healdsburg, Airport, Roblar, and Sonoma, leaving the liability for those sites to the County and cities.
4. Guaranteed Rate Increases
Republic would get a rate increase every year no matter what. Whereas keeping it public would mean we get to adjust the rates according to whatever our future needs become – perhaps even lowering the rate when we consume less and conserve better.
5. $100 Million Leaves Local Economy
Conservative estimates show that at least a $100 million dollar profit would be forever lost to an Arizona corporation over the course of 20 years; that’s money we need to keep circulating right here, in our economy.
6. Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Republic has no real facility to separate organics, like food and yard waste, which makes methane when it rots, a gas 20 times more powerful than the greenhouse gas CO2. We owe our children more than that.
7. Discourages Conservation
No matter how much we reduce our waste, this plan guarantees Republic that each year they will be paid at least 70% of what we paid the first year. Even the county has an incentive for us to waste – Republic pays them a $9 royalty for every ton we throw out, a sort of hidden tax taken as part of our monthly disposal rates.
8. Gives Away Power Plant
We’ve got a landfill gas-fueled powerplant big enough to power 7,000 homes. In a time of peak oil and energy depletion, this plan takes home-grown energy away from the public and drops it into a private corporation’s hands.
9. Loss of Recycling Revenue
In “2006”, we made over $100,000 from our recycling facilities. This plan would bring that number to zero.
10. Sets Us Back 25 Years
This plan takes the rights and responsibilities of our community resource and hands it over to an entity only concerned with profit. Not only would we lose money, but this plan tosses aside our obligations and opportunities to help the environment and ourselves.
New Media Producer
Ben is a local writer/filmmaker who specializes in pieces made directly for policymakers, regarding specific upcoming votes.