Waste-To-Energy in the United States: A Social and Economic Assessment

By T. Randall Curlee; Susan M. Schexnayder et al. | Go to book overview

and state support for WTE contributes to public and elected officials' support.

The limited number of case studies allows only tentative estimates of trends that might occur in WTE decision-making processes during the next several years. One likely change is that decisions about WTE increasingly will be made only in the context of integrated (or partly integrated) SWM systems. Voluntary or mandatory recycling programs, waste separation programs, vegetative composting, and other waste reduction programs are already operating in many municipalities and their relationship to WTE will have to be considered during WTE planning. Further, the popularity of recycling programs relative to WTE likely will demand that the former be implemented before the latter is planned.

Another probable trend is that WTE decision-making processes increasingly will include public information and public involvement programs from their inception. The case studies present only limited evidence of this trend; the WTE programs introduced in the mid-1980s offered more public information and opportunities for public involvement than the program introduced in the early 1980s. In addition, increased public concern about solid waste issues and public demands for participatory decision-making may encourage this trend. Also, during the late 1980s updated and easily accessible SWM guides became available to local decision makers ( U.S. EPA, 1989, 1990c). These guides include recommendations about public information and involvement programs and emphasize that such programs should be fundamental elements of all SWM programs. Last, at both sites where WTE proposals were rejected, the SWM planning activities that ensued have included broad-based citizen participation. Although neither site has reconsidered WTE, each has developed a new strategy for SWM planning that includes increased public participation.

Based on the occurrence and intensity of public opposition at the case- study sites and anti-incineration stances of prominent national medical and environmental associations, it is likely that considerable public opposition to WTE proposals will continue. This opposition may be mitigated by changes in the decision-making processes, such as those discussed above, that will make the process, and thus the outcome of the process, more publicly acceptable.


NOTES
1.
See Chapter 2 for a detailed discussion of environmental issues.
2.
Representatives of Broward County Commission declined interviews with the researchers, although one commissioner performed a cursory review of the case study. Information about the opinions and activities of county commissioners was obtained from publicly available materials (reports, minutes, news articles) and through other participants in the research.

-212-

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Waste-To-Energy in the United States: A Social and Economic Assessment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • Chapter 2 Why is Waste-To-Energy So Controversial? 9
  • Notes 33
  • Chapter 3 an Overview of Waste-To-Energy in the United States 37
  • Notes 61
  • Chapter 4 Waste-To-Energy in the United States and Key Socioeconomic Factors 63
  • Notes 95
  • Chapter 5 a Focus on Financial Issues 97
  • Notes 131
  • Chapter 6 Case Studies: Community Decision Making 135
  • Notes 212
  • Chapter 7 the Socioeconomics of Waste-To- Energy: Conclusions 215
  • Appendixes 229
  • Bibliography 239
  • Index 251
  • About the Authors 259
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