Back row: Christina Vasquez, Toby Bischoff, Lynn Rooks, Heather Stout, Brandon Nebeker, Ann Knotek, Nathan Rutz. Front row: Eric Dwyre, Rowan Kelley, Gwen, and Caelen.
CLEVELAND — ”When I found out about Cleveland’s proposed waste-to-energy plant, I wanted to know more. It didn’t take much research to realize that those in charge didn’t know what they were doing or were deliberately ignoring the facts.
The city and Cleveland Public Power like to argue that the only real opponents of this project are rabid and impractical environmentalists, mainly from ‘organizations.’ I definitely care about the environment, but I don’t belong to any such organization. But none of this even matters if you’re focused on the facts: The plan is built on a house of cards.
CPP and the city chose to do business with consultant Peter Tien; he and his promises have proven to be untrustworthy. They claimed this was neither an ‘incinerator’ nor a ‘major’ pollution source; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proven otherwise. They were, initially, wooed by visions of becoming a waste-to-energy headquarters for the entire country; that proved not to be viable. Hired consultants handed them a less-than-glowing feasibility report on the proposed project; they, excitedly, went ahead anyway.
If this is the way the city performs ‘due diligence’ in all of its planning, we need much more transparency and citizen involvement in Cleveland.”
— Ann Marie Knotek, Letter to the editor-Cleveland Plain Dealer
Read the letter here: http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2012/03/clevelands_waste-to-energy_deb.html
CLEVELAND — “After receiving several drafts of reports laden with errors and ambiguous calculations, the City of Cleveland has fired the consultant responsible for designing a proposed trash-to-electricity plant.
…In February, the city made public a letter to Peter Tien, declaring him and his company to be in default of an agreement with the city to provide services necessary for the initial design and permitting of the proposed waste-to-energy plant. The letter cited delays, deficiencies and discrepancies in a draft design memorandum and gave Tien 10 days to correct them.
In the most recent letter, Withers points out that Tien’s analyses consistently estimate that the plant will bring the city more than $40 million in annual revenue –though numbers on which that calculation is based change from draft to draft.
In one version posted online by the environmental group Ohio Citizen Action, Tien projects the city would make $132,000 a day from the sale of electricity. In a later draft, that figure was changed to $15,840.
Tien’s reports never explain how he arrived at the city’s estimated revenue. And a simple calculation of the numbers provided in his latest draft shows that figure at about $34.5 million.”
— Leila Atassi, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Read the whole story: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2012/03/cleveland_fires_waste-to-energ.html
“Cleveland Public Power has clearly designed its air pollution permit to take advantage of a loophole to avoid stricter air pollution regulations, and this is something that we cannot risk for our city.”
HARRISBURG, PA — Eric Papenfuse owns a bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa. He used to be on the city agency in charge of basic municipal services — sewer, water, trash.
He’s giving me a tour of the town, known mainly these days for having more debt per resident than any other city in the country. The city got into so much debt because of the way it deals with garbage. So, Papenfuse drives me out to the edge of town to see the trash incinerator that sunk the city.
‘Welcome to the almost-$350-million-in-debt Harrisburg incinerator,’ he says.
Garbage trucks are pulling in and dumping huge mounds of trash. The trucks have to pay a fee to leave their trash here. Those fees were supposed to pay for the incinerator. It didn’t work out that way.
— Zoe Chace, NPR
Read the whole story here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/03/23/149057880/how-a-city-goes-broke
Ohio Citizen Action field and phone staff, back row left to right: Rowan Kelly, Mark Biszantz, Sarah Batke, Angela Oster, Lynn Rooks, Josh Biszantz, Sergio Sade, Curt Moultin, middle row: Gloria Zenisek, Heather Stout, Brandon Nebeker, front row: Molly Lutz, Eric Dwyre, Christian Bucknell
CLEVELAND – In just seven weeks Ohio Citizen Action members and friends sent 1,457 letters and telewires to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson urging him to scrap plans for a garbage incinerator at the Ridge Road Transfer Station and instead focus on recycling and composting. Cleveland citizens and hundreds of neighbors from the surrounding suburbs including Lakewood, Brecksville, North Olmsted, Cleveland Heights, Bay Village, Solon, Chagrin Falls, Euclid, and Brunswick Hills have all written letters to Mayor Jackson.
— Nathan Rutz, Cleveland area organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
Please don’t build the incinerator… Fresh air is important for humans and animals.
CLEVELAND — “When the City of Cleveland notified Peter Tien on February 23, 2012, that he was in default on his $1.5 million no-bid contract to design a garbage incinerator for Cleveland Public Power, Utilities Director Barry Withers’ letter said there were numerous errors in Tien’s reports.
Ohio Citizen Action filed a public records request for copies of Tien’s reports and received several copies of reports on March 9. We still have requests pending for updates that Tien apparently submitted at the end of last week.
Although there were a variety of errors and inconsistencies in Tien’s filings, making all of the numbers suspect, the most damning mistake appears to be a miscalculation of the profit and loss for the facility.
Tien apparently submitted three different versions of his “Design Memorandum” to the city, one dated February 4, one dated February 11, and one dated February 17 (all had the wrong year on them, 2011 rather than 2012).
Tien’s analyses all showed that the facility would make money, with the final document on February 17, showing an annual profit of $4.7 million after covering operating cost and debt service.
But if he had done the math correctly, the February 17 report would have shown the facility losing approximately $17 million per year after operations and debt service.
Here’s the documentation: Continue reading Cleveland incinerator: Consultant gets caught cooking the books
CLEVELAND — “The city also has greatly scaled back the size of the proposed plant to avoid having it classified as a major polluter, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently warned it could be. The Ohio EPA is reviewing those comments and the city’s new numbers to determine whether the draft air permit should be modified or denied. That is expected to take at least several weeks.
Critics and proponents of the project agree on two issues: It is ecologically and financially irresponsible to dump Cleveland municipal waste in a Lorain County landfill at a cost of at least $7 million a year. And coal-generated electricity, the lifeblood of Cleveland Public Power, is a proven polluter.
The need for a more sustainable model to generate energy and reduce refuse is clear. The method for achieving it is arguable.
Permit aside, the cost and financing of the project have not been settled. If the numbers don’t add up, Jackson needs to follow through on promises to kill or modify the project.”
— editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Read the whole story: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/03/cleveland_is_wise_to_scale_bac.html
A proposed waste-to-energy plant would provide some of the electricity supplied by Cleveland Public Power.
CLEVELAND — “City officials estimate that the plan could cost $180 million, which includes citywide curbside recycling. Proponents say the plant would operate cleanly and safely and reduce the city utility’s reliance on electricity purchased from coal-fired plants. They say it also would save millions of dollars each year on landfill fees and reduce the trail of pollution left by trucks commuting to dumps.
But environmental groups contend that the Japanese technology being considered by the city has not been tested on the volume of garbage that would pass through the Ridge Road site. They worry about the possibility of hazardous emissions, including mercury and lead, and want city officials to spend more time exploring alternatives like composting.
Tien holds U.S. licensing rights to the technology, which is owned by the Kinsei Sangyo Co.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the Ohio EPA in a letter received Feb. 23 that the proposed plant would qualify as a tightly regulated major source of pollution, a designation the city had sought avoid. The federal agency also classified the plant as an incinerator, a word Cleveland officials had contended was inaccurate and refused to utter.”
— Thomas Ott, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Read the whole story: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2012/03/cleveland_trash-plant_consulta.html
“The city of Cleveland possesses the resources, if used wisely, to recreate itself and overcome it’s polluted, downtrodden, Rust Belt status. Let’s be America’s Green Belt.”
— Megan M Smith
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Public Power’s proposal to build a garbage incinerator on Ridge Road is premised on the idea of turning garbage into pellets and then burning them as fuel. Although Cleveland Public Power Commissioner Ivan Henderson has never released a financing plan or finalized cost estimates for the project, he has repeatedly said the City will rely on the pellets to fuel the incinerator and that the project will generate additional revenue by selling excess pellets to various companies, including Cleveland Thermal. Financing for the project would be based on the generation of electricity from the incinerator.
But an elementary mathematical calculation shows that the city has nowhere near enough garbage to make this project work, much less enough to sell “extra” pellets to make money. The City of Cleveland only takes in enough trash from its own residents, as well as the residents of Lakewood and Brooklyn, to fuel a machine from one quarter to one third of the size of what they are planning.
When questioned about the volume of trash at public meetings, city officials have repeatedly stated they will produce enough trash to run the incinerator. But this statement doesn’t hold up against the following simple math: Continue reading Basic mathematical errors will doom incinerator project
CLEVELAND — “In attempting to avoid Clean Air Act regulation of its proposed garbage incinerator as a ‘major’ polluter, Cleveland Public Power has said that it plans to build three smokestacks rather than four to ‘reduce emissions.’ However, in the new plan:…
• The city says it will ‘reduce pollution in nearby neighborhoods by an average of more than 50 percent’ by raising the smokestacks another 25 feet. In reality, though, higher stacks will only spread the same amount of pollution to more neighbors in the city, county and region.
Maybe Mayor Frank Jackson and city officials did not hear what hundreds of Clevelanders said in two months in testimony and in writing: We don’t want or need this new source of harmful air pollution, in our backyard or anyone else’s.”
— Sandy Buchanan, letter to the editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Saturday, February 18, 2012: Protest against proposed Cleveland Incinerator, Southwest corner of W 25th Street at Lorain Avenue. Nidia Arguedas, Claudette Wlasuk, M.J. Muser, and Susan Slotter.
CLEVELAND — “In my opinion, the Administration’s response shows a reckless disregard for the safety of Cleveland’s citizens. Cleveland’s city government should be in the business of promoting the general welfare, not putting it at risk.
The Administration says that the people who oppose the incinerator are merely people who don’t want this monstrosity in their backyard. An incinerator spewing out mercury, lead or dioxin should not be built in anyone’s backyard! Even a little bit of mercury, lead, or dioxin, is too much and too dangerous. Doesn’t anyone in the Administration have a conscience?
People need to start calling into question the ethics of the leadership in the City of Cleveland’s administration. People must demand moral and ethical leadership from their government officials. Better to be safe than sorry.”
— Pat Tamburro, Cleveland Plain Press
Read the whole story: http://ohiocitizen.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/plainpress_Mar2012.pdf
Cartoon from Frederick County, MD, 2006, during a local debate over the terms “incinerator” and “waste-to-energy” plant
CLEVELAND — Over the past year, Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Public Power have repeatedly insisted that their proposed garbage burning facility on Ridge Road is a “gasifier,” not an “incinerator.” They have taken out full page ads in newspapers to make this point, developed elaborate analogies comparing the proposal to a “toaster,” and argued with citizens holding up “No Cleveland Incinerator” signs at public meetings.
The citizens of Cleveland weren’t fooled by this, however, and neither was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Last week, U.S. EPA, the agency in charge of regulating the Clean Air Act, wrote a detailed review of the city’s proposed air pollution permit and confirmed that the project is indeed an incinerator.
This is not just a debate over semantics, because air pollution rules and requirements for incinerators are stricter and more protective of public health than rules for gasifiers.
Claude Lawrence Cornett, a Cleveland area engineer, researched the patents for the Kinsei-Sangyo technology that the city based its permit on http://www.patentmaps.com/assignee/Kinsei_Sangyo_1.html and found that they all have the word “incineration” or “incinerating” in their titles.
Cornett goes on to explain: “Cleveland Public Power, the Cleveland Division of Air Quality, and others, have been scammed by Kinsei Sangyo and their representatives to think that the proposed at the Ridge Road waste treatment plant will use gasifiers and not solid waste incinerators with energy recovery.”
— Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action