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Re: Incineration & Evil Intent

  Hi, Rebecca,
        In my posting, I did not intend to cast all of the people who promoted
  incinerators as evil. Most were just misinformed about the dangers.
        The incinerator companies knew better, however. They just didn't let
  on that anything was amiss...
  I believe that it was a well-coordinated scheme to divert public money to
  private hands through the floating of municipal bonds.
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Rebecca Leighton Katers <cwac@mail.execpc.com>
  To: Multiple recipients of list <dioxin-l@essential.org>
  Date: Wednesday, December 03, 1997 8:53 AM
  Subject: Incineration & Evil Intent
  >While everyone should certainly know better now,
  >I agree with Sam McClintock's assessment that
  >many incinerator promoters in the 70s and 80s
  >were probably well-meaning.
  >As a college student in 1981, I took a course in
  >Solid Waste Management.  The professor in that
  >course was essentially a nice man who was
  >mesmerized by the promise of incinerators, and he
  >passed "the magic" on to all his students.   Our
  >class project for the semester was to "plan" a
  >MSW incinerator for downtown Green Bay,
  >The Professor was absolutely convinced that
  >incinerators were the "Answer."   In fact, I got
  >in quite a bit of trouble asking more than once
  >why we didn't study or discuss recycling.   He
  >stormed at me and said it didn't work --- they
  >had already tried it in Green Bay in the 70s and
  >no one cooperated.   He said our job was to
  >manage the solid waste once it was generated ---
  >the only people still talking about recycling
  >were soft-headed environmentalists.
  >Let's face it --- to those who see only the good
  >of incineration there seem to be a lot of
  >benefits:  waste to energy, reduced landfill
  >needs, destruction of pathogens,  high-tech
  >magic, etc.   It seems like the pinnacle of
  >modern, even environmental, answers to solid
  >waste.   It turned waste into a resource.
  >And everyone I knew then believed that air
  >pollution control equipment took care of any
  >minor pollution problems.   Everyone
  >assumed "the regulations are strict" --- (THIS IS
  >I remember from that old class that several
  >professors were working together to address the
  >financing, waste flow, siting and other details
  >--- and they were ALL enthusiastic supporters of
  >the project.
  >They didn't know any better.   They were missing
  >critical pieces of information.    These
  >professors weren't "evil," but they did have
  >When I was elected County Supervisor and City
  >Alderwoman in 1988, the incinerator was being
  >formally proposed.   But by then, I had read a
  >great deal about incinerator disasters (financial
  >and environmental) across the country and
  >convinced the local government that it was risky
  >and needed more investigation.
  >In the meantime, Wisconsin passed a strong
  >recycling law, and Green Bay now has a very
  >successful curb-side recycling program, in
  >addition to a permanent household hazardous waste
  >drop-off site.
  >The MSW incinerator never happened, but we're
  >still siting landfills for the remaining waste
  >--- and neighbors of those sites STILL want a
  >MSW incinerator, hoping it will prevent a
  >landfill by their homes.
  >(And many of our papermills propose incinerators
  >for their waste sludges....)
  >I think we should hold the incineration
  >specialists' feet to the fire, because they
  >surely knew about toxic emissions
  >coming from incinerators.
  >But the less-informed people who supported these
  >projects didn't know any better.   And the
  >majority of people promoting incinerators
  >probably fit in this second category.
  >It's inaccurate (and a waste to time) to blame
  >ALL incinerator supporters for evil intent.
  >Rebecca Leighton Katers
  >Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin
  >2220 Deckner Avenue
  >Green Bay, WI 54302
  >Phone:  920-468-4243
  >Fax:  920-468-1234
  >E-mail:  cwac@execpc.com