Regional landfill: Building a waste-to-energy plant is a viable option

This is in response to the Sept. 7 Kent Reporter article, “King County considers expansion of Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.”

Does King County Solid Waste (KCSW) really want to increase recycling? If so, then building a waste-to-energy plant (WTE) is the biggest move they could make. What better use of our garbage than to use it as fuel to produce energy? Why are they wasting this resource by piling it in a landfill?

As residents living near the landfill, we have endured years of odors, noise, birds dropping rotting garbage and broken promises by KCSW. Their latest assault is to violate conditions of a lawsuit, just to expand the landfill a few years. You bet we will fight this. It is time King County steps up and does the right thing, not to appease the neighborhoods, but to give the county a cleaner, more environmentally safe method of garbage recovery – technologically fitting for a technology leading area.

KCSW has presented a plan that is designed to eliminate all options except landfill. The inflated costs from the article, above the county’s own report documents, are a way to influence public opinion away from WTE. The plan shows WTE plant cost of $1.1 billion, not $1.8 billion, with operating costs of $41 million, not $72 million. Mr. Pat McLaughlin even dismisses the sale of electricity from the plant. But estimates show revenue from the sale of electricity and metals at $27-$47 million per year or $540-$940 million for the 20-year bond period. The cost is not so “large” when considering this “offset” revenue.

WTE, as part of an advanced waste management system, should be considered an investment for our future, not a liability.

– Janet Dobrowolski

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