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Questions on proposed waste-to-gas plant

(Op-ed from JoAnn Hardy of Mason City)

The main attraction of our city leaders to the proposed trash to energy plant appears to be the promise of 50 or so jobs. The CEO of the company said in September during a KRIB interview that he could run this plant with 20 people if he automates the operation. Will he, at some point, automate the plant? There is the issue of job loss at our landfill, too. How many jobs will be lost and what is the net result?

The proposed plant wants $5 of the $30 per ton that we pay to dispose of our trash. That’s $1250 per day, about $456,000 a year. It is not a “no cost” project. Our landfill is a model for other landfills and has one of the lowest tipping fees in the state of Iowa. The average charge in Iowa is $45. This plant would seriously disrupt operation of our landfill. Will fees be forced up? Our landfill has at least 50 years of space available. We have plenty of time to find a CLEAN solution to making the landfill last longer. We don’t need this project. Will the emphasis be taken off recycling as the proposed plant searches for more trash to burn? Will our recycling businesses be put out of business? How many jobs would be lost in Mason City??

The State of Delaware has a law that plants like this can not be located within 3 miles of a school or neighborhood, because of toxic pollutants released into the air. The location of the proposed plant is about a mile from Newman School and Daycare and closer than that to some of our neighborhoods and their gardens and patios and playgrounds. There will be filters at the plant, but no filter is perfect. The used filters are so dangerous with toxins that they will have to be transported to a Hazardous Waste Site in Utah for burial. How much will the plant increase healthcare costs in our community?

And why are we even considering moving our garbage from out in the country into the city limits????

JoAnn Hardy

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