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December 11, 2018, 04:09:03 pm
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Author Topic: "Burning" ISSUE - long but WORTH IT!!!!  (Read 1713 times)
« on: July 26, 2005, 03:40:44 pm »

I would like to address the issues concerning the controversial Walter B. Hall Incinerator in Tulsa, OK - our city, our families’ city.  Let me provide you a very brief historical overview and then the problem and then, what I believe to be the solution.

Historical overview:
In the early 1980’s it was popularized in America that landfills were becoming rapidly depleted and that waste disposal fees into landfills would jump drastically soon.  Locally, in Tulsa, Ogden Martin Systems of New Jersey made a proposal not theorizing, but stating it as truth within their proposal and through various PR campaign tactics (wonder what firm they used to launch it and what paper was used to facilitate it), that in fact by the year 2000 disposal at its incinerator facility would be virtually zero dollars per ton an landfill rates would jump more than 300 percent.  Well, upon completion of the facility, the disposal rate was $7 per ton, slightly higher than landfill rates.  However that is to be expected, converting trash into energy is by no means a cheap thing to do initially, and we and the city of Tulsa acknowledged that and was okay with that.  Until the fee jumped from $7 to $14 to $21, and finally $42 per ton, before the city opted to “DIRECT BILL” its commercial customers on the water bill.  FAST FORWARD TO TODAY

Today, 2005, incineration, since its beginning has gone up more than 500 percent.  WHO PAYS?  This cost is passed on to local businesses and industries, while Oklahoma continues to have some of the nation’s most competitive and abundant landfill space (although Ken Neal in an 1988 PR Bit in the Tulsa World stated that particular landfills could be expected to maximize its limit within 18months, needless to say that was a gross underestimate).  The cost of the incinerator is an indirect, but powerful blow to the Tulsa economy.  For example, the average restaurant actually pays two to three times what neighboring cities pay, while apartments pay twice the southwest average.  This not only affects small Tulsa businesses, but also large ones, such as companies like Anchor Paint & Case and Associates, and other large companies in Tulsa.  For the past nearly 18 years, the city of Tulsa’s businesses and industries have paid in nearly ONE BILLION dollars to the incinerator.  A second problem, the impact on Tulsa’s already not so great air quality is unbelievable.  Since the inception in 1986 the incinerator has dumped tons of carbon monoxide furans into the Tulsa atmosphere.  In addition, the cancer causing chemical Dioxin was found at more than four and a half times the allowable limit by a test in the late `90’s.  The Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy (TARE Board) holds monthly meetings allowing various things to be disposed of at the incinerator, all the while the city demands we limit our driving, mowing, etc…  Although they (they city, good ole boys) don’t seem to be doing their part to keep the Ozone clean.  

I believe our solution is to notify the businesses and public at large at the cost of this incinerator, and how it is being billed through the water bill to businesses; because if businesses are paying, then the consumer is as well.  Also, when the free enterprise system was displaced, and the current method of disposal with city imposed rates and service quality was used and is still being used today, private haulers and business owners can not ensure the proper service and customer satisfaction is being provided at an equitable cost.  This is not right.  In addition, the solution is also to inform the public of the grave dangers to these pollutants being in the air, and inform the public of the hypocrisy that runs consistently in our city.  I believe in standing up for what’s right.  How can our city ask us not to drive, mow our lawn, or fill up our gas during ozone alert days in a city that is already borderline air quality problematic, and yet they provide solutions for “special” waste to be burned at the incinerator causing upwards of four and a half times the legal limit.  They shouldn’t be allowed to, this is indeed a crime.  Finally, what is the straw that breaks the camel’s back?  Today, Enid imports the majority of the Wichita, KS waste coming from that area.  In addition, the Walter B. Hall Incinerator has “diverted” its waste steam from Tulsa’s largest commercial waster hauler to a landfill for the past year.  What about the trash to energy concept it was founded on and what about the outrageous bill Tulsa businesses and industries are still receiving?

Finally, what to do:  When the 20 year contract is up for the incinerator in 2007, citizens and businesses alike must stand together in opposition to the incinerator and let the contract expire as scheduled.  Continuation would only allow Tulsa to continue operating one of its main polluting sources in the city and allow Tulsa to become one of the most expensive waste disposal systems in the Southwest.  

We need to expose this crime of hypocrisy going on in our city. Anyone have any ideas or input?
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